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Cascades and courage : 

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The History of the Town of Vernon 

and the City of Rockville 



Compiled in leisure hours by 

Title P a g e 

Early Historr of the Town 

Local Industrv 57 

Ecclesiastical Historr 133 

Education 210 

The History of the City 278 

The Hallowed Chapters of Patriotism 342 

Illuminatino; Facts 392 

A Few Important Institutions 449 

Index 525 



Title Page 

Government of the People 1 

The Town of Bolton 1 

v. Town of Vernon Incorporated 4 

Freemen of the Town of Vernon 6 

v First Town Meetings 8 

The Fellowship of Believers 10 

The First Meeting House of Bolton 10 

The First Meeting House of North Bolton 11 

The First Congregational Church of Vernon 14 

• Courageous Beginnings 21 

Line of Descent of Lemuel King 24 

Will and Codicil of Lemuel King 25 

A Letter from Hezekiah Kino; 26 

The Visit of General Lafavette 27 

Dedication of Lafavette Park 32 

A Rare Milestone 35 

v Early Transportation 37 

Vernon Town Earm 42 

The Vernon Post Office 44 

Probate Court 46 

Selected Town Meeting Records 48 


Title Page 

The Old Meeting House of North Bolton 11 

The First Congregational Church of Vernon 15 

Town Farm and Lafayette Park 31 

A Rare Milestone 34 

Old Tavern at Dobsonville 36 

"Waffle" Tavern 38 



Connecticut's Seal bears three vines representing the first 
three towns — Hartford, Windsor, and Wethersfield. Emigrants 
from Massachusetts, these pioneers were subject for the first year 
of their residence to the General Court of Massachusetts, but when 
they came to Connecticut they promptly desired to form a govern- 
ment according to their own ideas. 

As long ago as the 31st day of May, 1638, the Rev. Thomas 
Hooker preached his now famous sermon on democratic principles 
of political government. Thomas Hooker had been dismissed from 
the Church of England by the Bishop of London in 1629 for non- 
conformity. He came to Boston in 1633, and after serving as pastor 
at Cambridge, he led a group of settlers to the banks of the Con- 
necticut River and founded Hartford in 1636. 

On January 14, 1639, the Freemen of Hartford, Windsor and 
Wethersfield assembled in Hartford to listen to Mr. Hooker as he 
propounded his philosophy of popular government. Deeply im- 
pressed by his new concepts, they adopted his principles as the 
basis of their government and drew up what is now called the 
Fundamental Orders or Constitution of Connecticut. 

The five most important principles contained therein were: 

1. All the authority of government comes directly from the people. 

2. There shall be no taxation without representation. 

3. The number of men that the towns shall choose to help make 
their laws shall be in proportion to the population of the town. 

4. All Freemen who take an oath to be faithful to the State shall 
have the right to vote. 

5. New towns may join the three original towns and live under 
the same government. 

The town of Bolton was originally situated on the northeast- 
erly edge of the town of Hartford. The first settler is not known. 
The date of its settlement was the May session of the General Court 
of 1718. Before incorporation it was known as Hartford Moun- 
tains or Hanover, "Mountains in sight of Hartford." 

The name of Bolton was chosen from the Bolton in England, 
following a very common practice among the early settlers, as evi- 


denced by the name of many of our neighboring towns such as 
Coventry, Andover, Mansfield, Stafford, Enfield and Hartford. 

The town was about eleven miles in length from north to south 
and from three to five miles in breadth from east to west. A census 
of the town taken in 1756 showed a population of 951 whites, 11 
Negroes, and one Indian. In 1761, five years later, there were 840 
whites, 11 Negroes, and no Indian. This population was so dis- 
tributed that Bolton proper was larger than the North Bolton sec- 

The town and Freemen's meetings were held alternately in 
each section, so that many inhabitants were compelled to travel 
long distances to attend such meetings. Consequently a large 
number of aged and infirm people could not attend. 

Moreover, the two societies were divided by nature — a moun- 
tain stood between them which rendered communication very diffi- 
cult and made it inconvenient to transact the business of the Town. 
The Selectmen were obliged to travel six or seven miles to confer 
on town matters. 

Further, the mountainous land was poor for cultivation and 
settlement, and the fact that the two societies were nearly equal 
in numbers produced jealousy among the inhabitants. 

On June 4, 1795, an interesting, although unsuccessful, Me- 
morial was presented to the General Assembly by Samuel Carver 
and Saul Alvord, agents for the first Society in the town of Bolton, 
and Oliver King, agent for the second Society in said town, asking 
that the second Society be incorporated into a separate town to be 
called Richmond. This author suggests that the name, Richmond, 
might have been born of the memory of the pleasant market-town 
of Richmond, near York, England. It is significant that John War- 
burton and Peter Dobson, who figure large in the history of manu- 
facture in Vernon, came from Blackburn, a few miles only from 
this town of Richmond, England. However, this petition was not 

Thirteen years later, at a Town Meeting legally warned and 
held in Bolton on the 18th day of April, 1808 A.D., another peti- 
tion was presented, the name of Vernon taking the place of Rich- 
mond. Ichabod Warner Esq. was chosen Moderator. 
VOTED: To petition the General Assembly in May next to divide 
the Town of Bolton into two distinct Towns by the Parish line. 
VOTED: That there be but one Representative from each Town 


VOTED: That in case the Town shall be divided, the whole of the 
Record Books shall belong to the First Society which will still re- 
tain the name of Bolton. That the Weights and Measures shall be 
equally divided between the Towns according to their just value. 
That Hannah Goodrich, one of the present poor, shall belong to 
the north or new made Town and that Eunice Marshal and James 
Fowler, who shall become poor hereafter, shall belong to and be 
supported by that Town where they did or shall live and that the 
division of the poor and expense shall take place at the time the 
Town shall be divided; and all Debts now contracted shall be 
equally paid by each Town and taxes already granted shall be col- 
lected and disposed of according to the original design. 
VOTED: That Messrs. Saul Alvord and Oliver King be Agents to 
carry the foregoing votes into effect. 

Attest: Oliver King, Town Clerk. 

Oliver King was for many years prominently identified with 
Vernon's affairs. He served as the first town clerk and treasurer, 
and held those offices for an extended period. It is said that while 
he lived no other man was sent to the Legislature from the town. 

Saul Alvord was an extensive landowner, a saddler by trade, 
and later kept a tavern directly west from the Bolton Church. 
Early in life he took a leading position in town affairs, was often 
a member of the Legislature, selectman of the town, and served 
as first postmaster of Bolton. Mr. Alvord was always known as 
"Captain" Alvord and never laid aside the custom of dress of the 
Revolutionary period. 

At a Town Meeting legally warned and held in Bolton on the 
21st day of November, 1808, the following vote was passed as 
herein recorded: 

VOTED: That Saul Alvord and Elijah Talcott be a Committee to 
join a Committee of the Town of Vernon to establish the line be- 
tween the Towns of Bolton and Vernon. 

Discarding the name of Richmond, the inhabitants apparently 
preferred the name Vernon. We can only surmise that the warm 
memory of the Father of our Country, who had died but nine 
years before, led the people of the new town to enshrine in their 
common life the name of Washington's home. 



The town of Vernon was set off from the town of Bolton, and 
by an act of the General Assembly of the State of Connecticut held 
at New Haven on the second Thursday of October, 1808, was in- 
corporated into a town by itself. The following is a true copy of 
the records: 

"Upon the petition of Oliver King and Saul Alvord, 
of Bolton, in the county of Tolland, agents for said town 
of Bolton, in their own names, and in the names and behalf 
of the rest of the inhabitants of said town of Bolton, — 
showing to this assembly that said town is about eleven 
miles in length from north to south, and from three to five 
miles in width from east to west, and is divided into two 
ecclesiastical societies, and that from the situation and cir- 
cumstances of the inhabitants of said town, the same ought 
to be divided into two towns by the society lines; and 
that all questions respecting the debts, poor, bridges, and 
all matters which might arise in consequence of a division 
of said town, have been amicably settled and adjusted. 
Praying for an act of assembly to divide said town as afore- 
said and to allow each town as aforesaid and to allow each 
town one representative only, as by Petition on file dated 
the 3d day of May, A.D. 1808. 

"This petition was brought to the General Assembly 
holden at Hartford in May last, and thence by legal con- 
tinuance, to this Assembly, with an order to advertise 
notice of the pendency of the same, which order has been 
compiled with and no opposition being made against the 
prayer of said petition and the facts stated in the same 
being proved — 

"Resolved, by this Assembly, that the inhabitants liv- 
ing within the limits of the society of North Bolton, in 
said town of Bolton, be and they hereby are incorporated 
into and made a town by the name of Vernon; and that 
they and their successors, inhabitants within said limits, 
are, and shall forever remain a town and body politic with 
the rights, privileges and immunities to other towns be- 
longing, excepting that they shall elect only one repre- 
sentative to the General Assembly and the lines and limits 
of said society shall be the lines and limits of said town of 


"And it is further resolved, that said town of Vernon 
shall hold their first town meeting at the meeting house 
in said Vernon on the third Monday of November next, at 
two o'clock in the afternoon, to choose their town officers 
for the year ensuing; — and said meeting shall be warned 
by posting a notification to the effect on the sign post 
in said Vernon ten days before said third Monday of No- 
vember, which notification shall be signed by Oliver King, 
Esquire, who shall be the moderator of said meeting; and 
in case the said King shall fail to perform the duty hereby 
assigned to him, the same may be performed by any other 
justice of the peace in any town adjoining said town of 
Vernon — 

"And it is further resolved, that said town of Bolton 
shall hereafter elect no more than one representative to a 
session of the General Assembly. 

"A true copy of Record, examined by 

"Samuel Wyllys, Secretary." 


In those early days, in Connecticut, universal suffrage was 
unknown. There were severe restrictions surrounding the ballot. 
At the age of 16, all male persons could take the oath of fidelity to 
the State. The requirements for becoming a Freeman follow: 

A Freeman, at least 21 years of age, possessed of free- 
hold estate to the value of 40 shillings per annum or 40 
pounds personal estate in the general list of estates in that 
year wherein they desire to be admitted Freeman, being of 
quiet and peaceful behavior, and producing a certificate 
thereof from the selectmen of the town that they are quali- 
fied to take the Freemen's oath which must be done in 
open Freeman's meeting, but previous to this they must 
have taken the oath of fidelity to the State. 


Being by the Providence of God an Inhabitant within 
the Jurisdiction of Connecticut, do acknowledge myself 
to be subject to the Government thereof, and do swear by 
the great and fearful name of the everliving God, to be 
true and faithful unto the same, and do submit both my 
person and estate thereunto, according to all the whole- 
some laws and orders that there are, or hereafter shall 
be there made, and established by lawful authority, and 
that I will neither plot nor practice any evil against the 
same, nor consent to any that shall so do, but will timely 
discover the same to lawful authority there established; 
and that I will, as I am in duty bound, maintain the honor 
of the same and of the lawful magistrates thereof, pro- 
moting the public good of it, whilst I shall so continue an 
inhabitant there; and whensoever I shall give my vote or 
suffrage touching any matter which concerns this common- 
wealth being called thereunto, will give it as in my con- 
science I shall judge, may conduce to the best good of the 
same, without respect of persons or favor of any man. So 
help me God in our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Taken from old Bolton Records 


In 1808 there were 108 inhabitants of the town of Vernon who 
had met the requirements and had become Freemen. They were 
the following: 

Rev. Ebenezer Kellogg 
Jonathan Smith 
Jonathan Chapman 
Ezekiel Olcott 
Ozias Grant 
Roger Loomis 
John Payne 
Alexander Kinney 
Phineas Chapman 
James Thrall 
Samuel Root 
Elijah Skinner 
Oliver King 
Reuben King 
John Driggs 
Joshua Pearl 
Thomas Chapman 
Reuben Skinner 
Soloman Perrin 
Nathaniel Rogers 
Benjamin Talcott, Jr. 
Caleb Parsons 
Leonard Rogers 
Ephraim Tucker 
Jabez Cheesbrough 
Elijah Hammond 
Abraham Whedon 
Roger Darte 
Eli Hammond 
Samuel Talcott 
Joseph Hyde 
Cornelius Roberts 
Phineas Talcott 
Habb Wyles 
Wareham Grant 
Jacob Talcott 
Asher Isham 
Thomas W. Kellogg 
Ebenezer Hunt 
Scottoway Hinkley 
Alexander McLean 
Lemuel Abbott 
Erastus Kinney 
John Warburton 
Aaron Eaton 
Jonah Sparks 
Abel Driggs 
John Bingham 
Ezekiel Baker 
Elijah Skinner, Jr. 
Augustus Grant 
Jesse Miner 
Ebenezer Kellogg, Jr. 
Oliver Hunt 

John Darte 
Benjamin Talcott 
David Smith 
Elijah Tucker 
Ashael Webster 
Amos Jones 
Ebenezer Bivins 
David Smith, Jr. 
Ebenezer Chapman 
Roswell Smith 
Irad Fuller 
Reuben Sage 
Levi Darte 
Daniel Root 
John Walker 
Lemuel King 
Leavitt Millard 
Elnathan Grant 
Justus Talcott 
Stephen Fuller 
Joseph Loomis 
Thaddeus Fitch 
Alvan Talcott 
Elijah Payne 
Simeon Cooley 
Daniel Daniels 
Ezekiel Olcott, Jr. 
Normand Walker 
Shubael Sparks 
Russell Thrall 
Samuel Lyman 
Warren Kinney 
Lebbeus P. Tinker 
Delano Abbott 
John N. Hall 
Francis McLean 
Elliott Palmer 
Daniel Fuller 
Joshua Pearl, Jr. 
Hosea Brownson 
Curtis Crane 
John Chapman 
Lee L. Rogers 
Chester King 
Oliver H. King 
Herman Hyde 
John Cadey 
Russell King 
Hosea Tucker 
Jameson Cheesebrough 
Ashael Cadey 
Russell Cadey 
Reuben Sage, Jr. 
Ozias Bissell 

These, then, were the legal voters who were called to the first 
meeting of the Town of Vernon. 


The first town meeting of Vernon was held according to vote 
at the Meeting House on the third Monday in November, 1808. 
Following is a copy of the proceedings of the meeting, culled from 
the records: 

At a town meeting legally warned and held in Vernon on the 
third Monday of November, A.D. 1808, Oliver King was made 
Moderator in said meeting: 

Oliver King was chosen Town Clerk for the ensuing year. 

Oliver King was chosen Town Treasurer for the year ensuing. 

Cornelius Roberts, Oliver Hunt and Lemuel King were chosen 
selectmen for the year ensuing. 

Constables — Francis McLean to collect the state tax; Ebenezer 
Kellogg, Jr. 

Grand Jurors — Alexander McLean and Elijah Skinner, Jr. 

Lifters — Scottoway Hinkley and Ebenezer Kellogg, Jr. 

Tything — John Chapman and Thomas W. Kellogg. 

Surveyors of Highway — Ebenezer Chapman, Jameson Cheese- 
brough and Alvan Talcott. 

Haywards — Elijah Skinner, Jr., Eli Hammond. 

Pound Keeper — Cornelius Roberts. 

Fence Viewers — Irad Fuller and Solomon Perrin. 

Voted — A Tax of one cent on a dollar on the last August list to 
defray Town charges. 

Voted — That swine have liberty to run at large with a ring in 
their nose. 

Voted — That the Selectmen divide the districts and assess the 
labor on the Highways. 

Voted — That a warning put on the sign post in the Town at 
least six days previous by the proper Authority be legal warning 
for a Town Meeting. 

Voted — That the Selectmen meet with and settle accounts with 
the Selectmen of the Town of Bolton. 

Voted — That this meeting be adjourned to be opened imme- 
diately after the Freemen's Meeting in April next. 

Test: Oliver King, Town Clerk. 


Two years later a similar meeting transacted the following 
December 3, 1810 

Voted that swine have liberty to run at large on the highways 
and commons with a ring in the nose. 

Voted that the places for setting up warnings for Town meet- 
ings in future shall be as follows, viz. one on the sign post — one 
on a post near Caleb Parsons' House, one on or near the house of 
Lemuel King — one on or near the schoolhouse in the southeast 
district — one on a post at the parting of the roads north of Jona- 
than Smith's house and one on a post near the schoolhouse in the 
southwest district. 

Voted that no horse or horse-kind, mule or mules shall be al- 
lowed to go at large upon the highways or commons in said Town 
from and after first day of April next. 

That no goose or geese shall be suffered to go at large on the 
highways or commons in said Town. 



The Town of Bolton was incorporated in the year 1720, and on 
March 27, 1721, the first meeting was held to plan for the erection 
of a Meeting House. The committee appointed to secure a min- 
ister learned that the already famous Jonathan Edwards, tutoring 
at Yale, was preaching on Sundays to a Presbyterian congregation 
in New York City, and early in the year 1723 called him to the 
Bolton Church. This call was renewed in November of that same 
year, and Rev. Jonathan Edwards accepted the call. But Dexter, 
in his "Yale Biographies," states that "from some unexplained rea- 
son, the arrangement was not carried out." That must have been 
a disappointment to the small Bolton Society. 

However, in the year 1725, Rev. Thomas White was called, 
and for the long period of thirtv-five years served as a faithful 


In October, 1760, the General Assembly of Connecticut granted 
to a number of inhabitants of the north part of Bolton, and the 
east part of the Second Society of Windsor, a petition to be made 
a distinct Ecclesiastical Society, with certain bounds and limits and 
named North Bolton. 

On November 4, 1760, John Dart of North Bolton, constable, 
commanded to warn a Society Meeting, to be held at the dwelling 
house of David Allis on Wednesday, November 12th at 1 P.M. 

Per Thomas Pitkin, Just. Peace. 

On November 12, 1760, First Meeting of the Society, Isaac 
Jones, Moderator. John Chapman chosen clerk and treasurer. 
Titus Olcott, Moses Thrall and Aaron Strong, Society Committee: 
"Voted that the present Committee shall invite Mr. Bulkley Olcott 
to preach with us upon probation." Voted to hold the Sabbath 
Day meeting at David Allis' dwelling house till 1st May next. 

November 28, 1760, voted to build a meeting house, to be 
50 x 40 ft. with 24 ft. posts. "Voted to bord with oak bords on 
the studs, all round sd. meetine; house, and to clabbord with oak 
clabbords." Voted to send to Mr. Trasse, of Norwich, to preach 




Opened for Divine Worship June 20, 1762 

with sd. Society a few Sabbaths. The Society Committee to pro- 
cure preaching for the year ensuing. 

Voted "to send for ye County Surveiar to settle ye line between 
North Bolton and Elinton Society, and also to plan and find a 
Senter for North Bolton Society." 

January 27, 1761 — Voted to apply to the County Court for a 
Committee to affix a place to build a Meeting House. Mr. Buckley 
Olcott again invited. 

March 10, 1761 — Voted to apply to the County Court for an- 
other committee to affix a place to build a Meeting House. Voted 
to meet at David Allis' house this summer season. 

September 23, 1761 — Voted to apply to the General Assembly 
for a Committee to affix a place to build. 

November 16, 1761 — "Voted to hire a candidate to preach the 
Gospel to us ye year insewing." Voted to meet at David Allis' 
until further notice. (Annual Meeting) 

December 31, 1761 — Voted sd. meeting house to be 46 x 36 ft. 
with 22 ft. posts. John Chapman, David Allis, and Seth King ap- 
pointed building committee. 


March 10, 1762 — Voted to send to ye Association for advice 
in order for calling a candidate upon probation. A committee 
appointed to apply to the heirs of Samuel Bartlett for a building 
lot of half an acre. Voted to shingle sd. meeting house with chest- 
nut shingles. 

The site chosen was at the crossing of the highways, long since 
discontinued, and is now marked by a white wooden post four 
feet high and four inches in diameter on the south side of the 
highway, in the rear of the home of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Marcham, 
one-half mile east of the present meeting house. 

March 29, 1762 — Voted to call Mr. Ebenezer Kellogg upon 
probation in order for settlement. 

May 6, 1762 — Meeting House raised. 

June 20, 1762 — First met in the Meeting House for divine 

July 1, 1762 — Voted to call Mr. Ebenezer Kellogg to settle in 
ye work of ye ministry in sd. Society. Voted to give him £55 the 
first year and so to rise by £l yearly to £65. Also, £100 settlement 
at the end of one year after his ordination, and £50 at the end of 
the next year. 

September 9, 1762 — Salary voted, £60 to increase £l yearly 
till it reaches £70. 

(The above meeting was held at the Meeting House.) 

October 7, 1762 — Voted to accept Mr. Ebenezer Kellogg's an- 
swer dated October 7, 1762. 

November 22, 1762 — Society Meeting held at the Meeting 
House ( Annual Meeting ) . 

December 13, 1764 — Voted to accept the Meeting House Com- 
mittee account for building the meeting house. 

Voted to allow the whole of the rate that was made upon 
Samuel Bartlett's Estate, late of Bolton, deceased, for defraying the 
charges of building the Meeting House, and also half the rate that 
David Smith, Collector, had against said estate, for half an acre 
of land given from the heirs by deed to the Society, to build the 
meeting house upon. 

December 12, 1768 — Voted the Committee to provide a lock 
and key and bolts to fasten up the meeting house. The Meeting 
House was not furnished with pews till 1770 nor plastered till 1774. 

Reverend Ebenezer Kellogg was born in Norwalk, Connecti- 
cut, April 5, 1737, graduated from Yale College in 1757, studied 


theology under the Rev. David Judson of Newton, Conneetieut, and 
was licensed to preach May 28, 1760. He did not make a public 
profession of religion until he was twenty-one years of age. Affec- 
tionately known as "Priest" Kellogg, a scion of that sturdy stock 
which has given many distinguished men to the country, strong 
physically and mentally, he held his people with a vigorous hand 
and a lucid mind. A Puritan himself, he persuaded his people 
to become Puritans also. 

The Lord's Day began according to the Hebrew manner at 
sunset Saturday night, because "the evening and the morning were 
the first day" and ended Sunday at sunset. And woe to the luck- 
less new comer who drove out of the village after sundown Satur- 
day night or drove into it before sunset Sabbath evening. Before 
sunset Saturday night the mill was stopped and every room was 
cleared by busy workers. And on Sabbath evening busy cloth 
packers prepared an invoice of goods for the early Monday morn- 
ing team, market-bound. For the young people Sunday evening 
was courting time. 

The saintly Ebenezer Kellogg always read his lengthy ser- 
mons. They were serious discourses, carefully setting forth the 
most important doctrines and duties of religion. The theology of 
the First Church was stern in theory and strict in practice. There 
were seasons of uncommon spiritual awakening and influence in 
the years 1772, 1782, 1800, 1809, 1815. The children respected 
him, and many called him "father." 

On the completion of fifty years of faithful service he gave an 
historical address, but not one of the original members of the 
church was present to hear the discourse, due to death and removal 
from the parish. Like a heavenly benediction upon his work were 
his own words on the occasion of the fifty-fifth anniversarv of his 
ordination : 

"Time in its nature is fleeting. It bears all the living 
along with it. As to myself, the time of my departure is 
near at hand. And in view of the prospect of that solemn 
day, I am supported with a believing hope that I trust in 
my all-sufficient Savior, and that I have not labored alto- 
gether in vain among you." 

Less than four months before his death he recorded with his own 
hand the last admission to the church during his lifetime. Anno 
Domini, 1817, Eliza, wife of his grandson, George Kellogg, recom- 


mended by Rev. E. Cook of Orford, (now Manchester.) 

Ebenezer Kellogg died at the age of 81 years, and was buried 
in the ancient burying ground, half a mile east of the first meet- 
ing house, an acre consecrated for the burial of the dead. It was 
laid out many years before the house was erected. Here is the 
inscription on the stone erected in his honor: 

Rev. Ebenezer Kellogg, died 
Sept. 3rd, 1817, in the 81st year 
Of his age, and 55th year 
Of his ministry in this place. 

"In yonder sacred meeting house he spent his breath, 
Now silent, senseless, here he sleeps in death. 
These lips again shall wake and then declare 
A Long amen to truths they published there." 

The early interest of the Society in singing and singing schools 
is remarkable. On November 16, 1761, two choristers were chosen; 
On November 21, 1799, $45 was voted for the support of singing 
in public worship; On January 28, 1818, Reuel Thrall was employed 
by the Society Committee to assist the singers for not more than 
ten days before Mr. Ely's ordination; and on May 31, 1824, it was 
voted to start a subscription for money to procure Mr. Brace to 
prepare the singers for Mr. Benedict's installation. 

John Cady was first chorister for thirty years before the year 
1820. He owned a violin which is still in existence. Reuben 
Skinner and John Skinner, Jr., followed Cady. 


The second pastor of the historic church was Rev. William 
Ely, of Saybrook, Connecticut. He was ordained March 11, 1818, 
and was dismissed February 21, 1822. He established the Sabbath 
School in May of that year, one of the earliest in Tolland County. 

The Rev. Amzi Benedict was installed June 30, 1824, and dur- 
ing his ministry of six years the church at Vernon was erected. 

The subscribers at the request of the committee of the 
Society met December 14, 1824, at Mr. Collins' Inn on the 
subject of fixing on a place for erecting a Meeting House, 
and finally determined and fixed upon a spot on which 
said meeting house may be erected, being on land of 
Francis McLean, Esq., on the west side of the Hartford 



Dedicated April 4, 1827 


Turnpike Road between his dwelling house and die black- 
smith's shop of Capt. Roberts about six rods west of said 
turnpike road, and between the second and thud rows of 
apple trees from the south side of a young orchard, haying 
stuck a stake on said spot. 

Samuel Pitkin, 
Elisha Stearns, 
John Hall, Committee. 
Vernon, December 14, 1824. 

The Society proceeded with due deliberation to make arrange- 
ments for building, and adopted "Articles of Agreement" for a 
subscription for raising the necessary funds, subscriptions not to 
be binding unless $6,000 should be subscribed by the first of May, 
1826. The church was erected in 1826, and the builders were 
Messrs. YVhitmarsh & Shepard, Springfield, Massachusetts. 

The house was dedicated April 4, 1827. We found an old copy 
of the order of services: 

Invocation and Reading the Scriptures 

Chorus by the Choir — "O Praise God" 

Dedicatory Prayer — Rev. Amzi Benedict 

Singing by the Congregation — "Old Hundredth" 

Chorus — "One Thins; Have I Desired" 

Sermon by the Pastor — Genesis XXVIII, 17, "This is 

none other but the house of God, and this is the 

gate of heaven" 
Chorus — "I was Glad when they said unto me" 
Concluding Prayer 
Benediction bv the Pastor 

The music was under the direction of Mr. Salmon Phelps, of 
East Hartford, who had instructed the members during the pre- 
ceding winter. It is said that the Dedicatory Prayer by Rev. Amzi 
Benedict was long remembered as being peculiarly solemn and 
impressive, "as if he were talking face to face with God." 

According to Rev. Increase N. Tarbox, then a juvenile resident 
of Vernon, and later a famous Doctor of Divinity, "two or three 
days were occupied with the raising." At a centennial celebration 
of Tolland County, July 4, 1876, Dr. Tarbox referred to the Dedi- 
cation of Vernon in 1827 in poetic form: 


"The speaker pauses here to state 

That in his humble way 
He helped to raise the meeting house 

Which Vernon has today; 
He helped by sipping at the punch, 

Which flowed in large supplies, 
By tossing pins for men to catch, 

And eating of the pies." 

The day following the dedication all the pews, excepting those 
reserved, were sold for $7,700, exceeding by $700 the total cost 
of the building. 

The pews and slips were sold, and held as the individual 
property of the owners, till about 1850, when most of the pew 
holders relinquished their rights in favor of the Ecclesiastical So- 
ciety. A few slips were bought by the Society, and a few remained 
as individual property. 

The Rev. Chester Humphrey was ordained October 4, 1832. 
He died on April 18, 1843, at the age of forty years. The Rev. 
Albert Smith was installed on May 21, 1845. 

In 1851, preliminary to a thorough remodeling of the build- 
ing, the structure was moved nearly its length back from the turn- 
pike road and about its width away from the highway on the 
northeast side. A portion was added and the symmetrical spire, 
so long a pleasant landmark for miles around, with its white finger 
pointing heavenward, but recently found needful to sacrifice for 
safety of life and property, was removed. The church was re- 
dedicated about the first of September, 1852. The sermon was 
preached by Rev. Albert Smith, D.D., pastor of the church at 
that time. 

The Centennial celebration of the erection of the Meeting 
House was observed on September the 25th and 26th, 1926. On 
Saturday, the 25th, there was a Pilgrimage to the Old Cemeterv 
and site of the First Meeting House; an organ recital by Dr. Wil- 
liam Churchill Hammond, a native of Rockville, a Banquet Sup- 
per, and a Concert by Manchester Salvation Army Band. 

On Sunday, September 26, addresses were given at the morn- 
ing service by Senator Hiram Bingham, Secretary D. Brewer Eddv. 
D.D., and Dr. Rockwell Harmon Potter. Greetings were brought 
by Miss Elizabeth Hammond, of Guatemala, representing the mis- 
sionary line of the church; Greetings from His Excellency, Gov- 


ernor John H. Trumbull, and Dr. Arthur H. Smith, who was born 
in the parsonage and became a missionary in China and an author 
of note and authority. In the afternoon an Historical address was 
given by Dr. Sherrod Soule, and at 7 p.m. eight churches partici- 
pated with brief reminiscent remarks. 

The records show that the salary of the 

Rev. William Ely was $600 

Rev. Amzi Benedict $500 

Rev. Chester Humphrey $500 

Rev. Albert Smith, D.D. $600 

Rev. Mark Tucker, D.D. $700 

The 175th anniversary of the First Congregational Church of 
Vernon was observed October 8-10, 1937. Historical papers were 
presented on Grandmother Bolton, born 1725, by Samuel Alvord; 
Mother Vernon, born 1762, by Oliver Driggs; Granddaughter 
Rockville, born 1837, Mrs. Walter H. Skinner; Granddaughter 
Vernon Methodist born 1852, Mrs. W. J. Stephens; Granddaughter 
Talcottville, born 1867, John G. Talcott. 

There were greetings from former pastors and an historical 
address by Dr. Sherrod Soule, Hartford, Connecticut. 

The hurricane of 1938 blew away the steeple of the Vernon 
Church. The congregation was distressed. Then unexpectedly 
word came from Allyn and Robert Ford, of Minneapolis, that they 
were interested in providing a memorial to their father and mother, 
who had lived in Vernon, and had been married there in 1860. 

Mr. Wm. Brazer, of New York City, an authority on Colonial 
architecture and a brother-in-law of Mr. Ford, came up at their 
request, looked over the situation, drew plans, and secured bids. 
And a new steeple was dedicated as a memorial to Luther Ford, 
who joined this church in 1867 with his wife, Sara Carpenter Ford. 
They were married here and were active in the work of the church 
until they moved to Minneapolis. 

During the years that have followed since the ending of World 
War II a great change has taken place in the environs of the old 
Mother Church in Vernon Center. In 1903, at the conclusion of a 
"Manual of the First Congregational Church" there appear the fol- 
lowing words: 

And now after the noble record of the past, the fate 
of so many of the hill town churches, from causes that are 
inevitable, has fallen upon the old mother church, that of 


a contracted parish, greatly lessened constituency and 
meagre material resources. . . . The service of the remain- 
ing few, is often heroic, in its self-sacrificing fidelity; and 
soul-saving endeavor freshens its strength, by contact with 
His life, who has said "I am with you always even unto 
the end." 

With the growth away from Vernon Center, and with the 
weakness of what had once been a mighty Church, there is no 
difficulty in understanding that the few who remained in the area 
felt this was "the end," the end of a mighty histoiy in an area 
where the Church had done its task. 

But recent history was and is to prove otherwise. With the 
steady flow of population out from the city environs of Hartford, 
with the great influx of employment in the East Hartford area, 
and with the completion of an excellent four lane highway through 
Vernon to Hartford, and the Charter Oak Bridge, a high priority 
has been placed upon life in these rural areas. This has meant that 
since the War the area which is served by "the old Mother Church" 
has become to a great extent a suburb to the Greater Hartford area. 
Hundreds of folks have moved out of the noise of city into the 
quiet of Vernon, building their homes along the roads in the vil- 
lage or in more instances locating in one of the many building 
developments in the area. 

The obvious result of this situation has been the absorption 
of new life into town and Church, quite reversing the judgment of 
doom laid down by the unknown author of the manual quoted 
above. The Church has turned a long corner. Under the pastorate 
of Mr. Griswold the Church reached forward to some of the glory 
and strength of former days, and with the growth which con- 
tinues at an increasing rate, it would seem that this should con- 
tinue to be the case. Great was the faith and courage of the few 
who carried on in seeming sight of "the end." But the end has 
not come, and it has rather proved to be "the beginning," the be- 
ginning of a new era in the history of "the old mother Church" 
which was the cradle of our Town of Vernon. 

Sufficiently great is this "new beginning" that it has proved 
necessary for the Church to embark upon an expansion program. 
The great huge meeting house so long considered a white elephant 
far beyond the needs of the dwindled parish is now thoroughlv 
inadequate, in particular for the Church School which cannot be 
accommodated in the present facilities. Preliminary plans have 



been laid down and approved for the erection of a Parish House 
which will serve primarily for the Christian training of the youth 
of the Church. 



Ebenezer Kellogg 



William Ely 



Amzi Benedict 



David L. Hunt 



Chester Humphrey 



Albert Smith, D.D. 



Mark Tucker, D.D. 



Isaac Brush 



Reuben Stafford Kendall 



Amos Sheffield Cheesebrough, D.D. 



Samuel G. W. Rankin 



Bela N. Seymour 



Nathan Gibbs Axtell 



Wilder Smith 



Andrew Mclntyre 



Samuel Forbes 



Luther Humphrey Barber 



N. M. Larned 



Homer T. Beach 



Frederick Alvord 



W. W. Davidson 



A. Ferdinand Travis 



William H. Teel 



C. R. Small 



Nelson H. Wehrhan 



J. C. Willard 



A. A. Marquadt 



W. O. Shewmaker 



H. C. Beebe 



H. C. McKnight 



C. E. Crawford 



H. C. Mayhew 



Milton Davis 



Edward Eells 



Allan Gates 



W. F. Tyler 



Sterling White 



Norman Weed 



William Booth 



Woodbury Stowell 



Brendon Griswold 



George B. Higgins 



The history of the Town of Vernon is the story of Cascades 
and Courage. Aided by these pages we turn back the dial of time 
and learn of the group of men who in wisdom laid their plans, 
overcame many obstacles, and brought the town conspicuous suc- 
cess. A number of intelligent, persevering, far-seeing men, who 
worked with stout hearts, and by their earnest purpose laid the 
foundation of prosperity for the town and city, came from far 
and near. They had no secret formula for swift success. Only 
by a painstaking self-denial and the exercise of great sagacity did 
they attain success. They had the spirit of the frontiersmen and 

The early years of the Town unfold the story of the courage 
unlimited of the Kings, the Grants, the McLeans, the Dobsons, 
John Warburton, and the Talcotts. 

The King family were extensive land owners, possessing most 
of the Tankeroosen Valley. Through the courtesy of members of 
the King family, we are able to quote from copies of important 
family papers. One of these is an instructive letter from Hezekiah 
King to his son Hezekiah, concerning the coming of his grand- 
father, Captain Hezekiah King, to Bolton and Vernon about the 
year 1750. 

My Dear Son: 

Agreeable to your request I write what little I know of my 
ancestral relations, remembering that what I have recorded beyond 
my Grandfather is tradition. 

Our ancestors originally came from England and settled in 
region of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. My great-grandfather re- 
moved from there when a young man to the southern part of Mas- 
sachusetts bordering on Rhode Island. My grandfather, whose 
name was Hezekiah King, when about 20 years of age, emigrated 
west into an almost unsettled country and located in what was 
known as the unsettled land of Connecticut. By the Colonial Laws 
anyone could take up one thousand acres by paying the surveyor 
and Recorder their fees amounting, I think, to ten pounds. On this 
tract of land of 1000 acres my grandfather built a cabin, cleared 
up some few acres and returned to his father's to spend the winter, 
returning the second summer with some additional force, he started 



his farming operations by sowing wheat, perfecting his cabin, and 
the 2d spring he came on with a wife and remained permanently. 
The Log Cabin in which he lived the first few years was about 
14 of a mile east from where I was born. What we know now as 
the Old Homestead was built by my grandfather, but greatly en- 
larged by my father. My grandfather was twice married. My 
father was a son of the 2d marriage and his name was Lemuel. 
There were four children by the first marriage and five by the 
last, three sons and one daughter by the first (the eldest son was 
named Hezekiah) three sons and two daughters by the last. The 
names of my father's brothers and sisters were Samuel, Else, Lem- 
uel, Clarissa and William. The place is now Vernon. When first 
organized it was called North Bolton; in other words, it was a town 
without a name, and attached to Bolton for Legislative and Judi- 
cial purposes. From conversation with my father I should infer 
my grandfather was a man of more than ordinary note and influ- 
ence in the community, was a Magistrate and what at that time 
was considered a high honor, was Captain of the Militia Co. On 
his tombstone is "Capt. Hezekiah King," his age and the year of his 
death. I once went to his grave in company with my father, re- 
member well the circumstance, although a boy of perhaps 12 or 15 
years. It was in the old cemetery which has been abandoned I 
suppose for 40 years. My grandfather died a few years preceding 
the Revolutionary War. My father was in the Army at the time 
the British had possession of New York, and at the time the Amer- 
ican Army were encamped at Horse Neck and that vicinity was 
wounded in one of the many midnight attacks that were constantly 
going on from marauding parties of the British Army who were 
out plundering the neighborhood and intercepting supplies for the 
American Army. My father was at Horseneck at the time Putnam 
rode down the steps that you have heard so often of. His wounds 
were of a serious nature. He lay in the hospital for six months at 
Horseneck, was then brought home to his mother's and was three 
years from the time he was wounded before he was able to bear 
his weight, and you I presume recollect he lost the use of the 
knee joint, or in other words he had a stiff knee. My grand- 
mother's maiden name was Thrall. She lived many years after my 
grandfather's death. My father retained the Old Homestead, and 
my grandmother lived and died at an advanced age a member of 
his family. My mother's maiden name was Bronson. Her ances- 
tors were what are generally known as Scotch Irish. They settled 
originally at a place in New Hampshire which the Emigrants in 


respect to name of the place they came from called Londonderry. 
Her parents emigrated west and settled in the same township of 
my father. Her family relations were mostly in and around Lon- 
donderry. They used once in a great while visit at my father's, but 
I never knew much of them. So far as I recollect they were highly 
respectable people. 

Hezekiah King. 

The original grant of 1,000 acres was turned into a tremendous 
estate. By the time Lemuel King died in 1827, the family owned 
all the land lying between Mile Hill Road and Tolland Road; the 
land from East Street down to the Minterburn Mill, besides a 12- 
acre woodlot. On the land from East Street to the Minterburn 
Mill was the farm house in which Lemuel King lived on his return 
from the Revolutionary War. Previously, it had been owned by 
a Mr. Rich. In 1821 and 1822, Lemuel built upon the same site 
what is now the Town Farm as a gift to his son, Hezekiah, on his 
21st birthday. This was the building in which Lafayette was later 
entertained. Across the street from this farm house, which had 
become the King Tavern, on the turnpike, was the Waffle Tavern 
which still stands, dating back to 1700. 

Painted on a beam in the attic of the ell part of the building 
may be seen carved the figures 1700. The tavern was turned 
around in 1800. The original building stood north and south, now 
it faces east and west. The stone steps on the south side bear the 
date of the change, 1800. 

The large wooden sign, 6 ft. 2 in. in height, 5 ft. 1 in. in width, 
which used to greet guests at the old King Stage House is still 
preserved. It is much unlike the signs of the present day. The 
colors are gay and gorgeous, and there is considerable gold leaf 
on the sign. On it is painted in the center, the Connecticut Coat of 
Arms or State Seal. The sign painter's name appears at the foot 
of the sign — a Mr. Rice. In gilt letters are the words "Vernon 
Hotel" and above the date — 1834 — 10 years after Lafayette's visit. 
Miss J. Alice Maxwell had it redecorated. The sign has been 
moved from the Town Farm to the High School, to the Public 
Library, and now to the premises of Donald Fisk, Esq. 

Line of descendant of Lemuel King; also of his great grand- 
son, Landreth Hezekiah King, who delivered the address on 
behalf of his family at the Lafayette celebration at Vernon, Conn., 
in 1902. 


John King settled in Weymouth 1622 ( ? ) 

children: John Mary 

Samuel King b. Weymouth 1635 

m. Experience Phillips 

children: John Samuel 

Hezekiah (Deacon) 
Deacon Hezekiah King b. Weymouth 1680; lived in Bolton and Vernon; 

moved to Amenia, N. Y., 1740 and died same 
year; buried in Sharon, Conn. Deacon of 
Sharon Congregational Church, 
m. Sarah Reid 

children: Hezekiah, Sarah, Samuel, 
Esther, Mary, Bathsheba, 
William, John, Mary, Alcee 
Captain Hezekiah King b. Weymouth 1715 

m. Anna Thrall (2nd marriage) 

children: Samuel, Elsie, 

Lemuel, Clarissa, William 
Lemuel King b. Sept. 20, 1765; d. 1827, buried in Vernon, Conn, 
m. Jane Bronson 

children: Hezekiah 

Hezekiah King b. April 13, 1799 

m. Weltha Warburton 

children: Hezekiah Richard Ellen 
Edward Mary Alice 
Hezekiah King b. Oct. 4, 1822 

m. Rachel Landreth 

children: Landreth Hezekiah 
Ella Rodnev 
Landreth Hezekiah King b. July 28, 3 859. d. Dec. 16, 1944 
m. Florence Lord 

children: Helen 

Ruth Rodney 

Will of Lemuel King, dated January 27, 1827 

Important paragraphs taken from the records 

To my oldest son, Emery King, one half of the farm that I 

bought of Dr. Carpenter, and on which he lives, together with 

buildings thereon which is estimated at $5,500. 

I give to my son, Hezekiah King, the house and buildings 

where he now lives, together with the lot of land lying between 

the two roads leading to Tolland and Ellington being estimated at 


I give to my son, John M. King, all of my home farm and 

buildings thereon standing including the 12 acres of woodlot west 

and called the Skinner lot. 

Dated January 27th, 1827 

Signed Lemuel King. 


In presence of Jabez Kingsbury 
Horatio Dow 
John Sumner 

Certified from record by Asa Willey Judge 

Codicil to Will of Lemuel King dated 13th of June, 1827 

Lemuel King of Vernon, County of Tolland, do make and or- 
dain this as a codicil to my last will and testament and do give to 
my son Hezekiah King right to take to himself out of my estate 
my Stage Property consisting of 12 Stage horses and 3 full sets of 
harness, 2 stage coaches and one stage sleigh and my right in the 
mail wagon for which he is to pay the rest of my heirs the sum of 
Four Thousand Five Hundred Dollars, in such a way as to enable 
my Executors to settle my Estate. 

Dated June 13th, 1827. 

Witnessed by John Kingsbury 
Marcia Case 
Louisa Scripture 

Final Accounting of Lemuel King's Estate 
Dated June 24th, 1828 

Inventory of Personal Estate $10,881.76 

Amount of Cash received 248.07 


Expense of settling said Estate including Funeral $222.34 

Amount of Debts paid 1,355.07 
Total of property consumed by the Family 

during settlement 336.10 

Grand Total $1,913.51 

1. Lorenza Sparrow purchased land and buildings including tav- 

ern from the Hopkins Estate. 

2. Lorenzo Sparrow sold 52 acres of land and buildings including 

Waffle Tavern to George Knowles. 

3. Clarence Bamforth purchased from Knowles in 1917 land and 

buildings including the Waffle Tavern. 

4. Joseph Gollmitzer present owner purchased the buildings in- 

cluding Waffle Tavern and buildings from Clarence Bam- 
forth in 1951. 


A letter from Hezekiah King, written in 1837, gives some in- 
teresting information about the famous Hall of Learning in Elling- 
ton which he attended: 

I was one of sixty boys who were, fifty years ago, at 
Judge Hall's boarding school in Ellington. The school had 
an extended reputation, pupils coming from the Western 
States, the Southern States and some from South America. 
The principal was an esteemed influential citizen, the son 
of a prominent patriot of the Revolution, a graduate of 
Yale College, which institution favored the school and 
where many of the pupils afterward received their higher 
education. Among my teachers were Judge Alphonso 
Taft of Cincinnati, Ohio. He had then just graduated 
from Yale with first honors. He became afterwards prom- 
inent in Ohio politics, was made Attorney General of the 
United States and later was Minister to Austria. He has 
remembered Yale within a few years with liberal gifts. 
Dr. Levi Wells Flagg was another teacher. He became a 
noted physician and resided at Yonkers. 


The name of Lafayette, his nobility of character and sublime 
patriotism, will ever illumine the pages of history, and when in the 
year of 1824 he re-visited America, the entire nation rose up to 
greet him. Vast preparations had been made for his reception. 
Every village through which he passed raised its own distinctive 
triumphal arch. Every town on the itinerary announced his ap- 
proach with the report of cannon, and everywhere he was con- 
strained to descend from his coach, though lame, (it is thought 
from injuries received in the battle of Brandy wine, ) to receive 
expressions of affection from the population, albeit forty years had 
gone by since he contributed essentially to the achievement of 
our independence. 

This noble benefactor of America left Paris on the 11th of 
July, 1824, with no other companions but his son and his secretary, 
Auguste Levasseur. He arrived at le Havre the next day, where 
the Cadmus, an American merchant vessel, had been waiting for 
several weeks. The guns of all the forts and of all the warships 
in the harbor were booming as he limped down the line. Old 
soldiers hobbled up, halted and wept. He reached New York on 
August 14. Here is the itinerary he followed: 

Left New York August 20, 1824, for Boston, via New Haven. 

Arrived in Boston August 24, remained there until August 30. 

Tuesday, August 31, took an excursion to Portsmouth, Con- 
cord, Lexington, Salem, and Newburyport, returning to Boston on 
September 2. 

September 2, proceeded to New York by way of Worcester and 

Arrived at Worcester at half-past ten o'clock, September 3, 
escorted by troops. Reception at the house of Judge Lincoln. 

Departed from Worcester at two o'clock in the afternoon. 

Reached Stafford Springs late on Friday evening. Stafford 
Springs in those days was a well-known resort for invalids and 
epicures. Lafayette slept at Stafford Springs House that night. 

Arrived at the King Tavern, Vernon, Saturday morning, Sep- 
tember 4, at 9 o'clock. 

Reached Hartford about eleven o'clock. 

Sunday, September 5, entered Long Island Sound at daybreak. 



Arrived at New York at noon. 

Sometimes historical facts are heavily incrusted with myth, 
legend and rumor, and through a labyrinth of oral tradition and 
conjecture and contradiction the careful writer has to find the way 
to truth. Many are the stories which have been told concerning 
the visit of Lafayette to the King Tavern in Vernon — stories of the 
decorated parlor; hilarious reception and ball; the embossed invita- 
tion cards; the sumptuous dinner party; the instant recognition 
of Lemuel King as a drummer boy in the General's Army; the list 
of distinguished guests; the platitudinous perorations — all are 
stories of an exaggerated imagination. 

Fortunately there is in the stimulating library of the Connecti- 
cut Historical Society, Hartford, a valuable copy of the daily diary 
of Lafayette kept during his stay in this country in 1824, and a 
copy of "The Journey of Travels in the United States," written by 
his secretary, A. Levasseur. Equally enlightening are the Hart- 
ford newspapers of that period, and the information preserved by 
members of the King family is historically impeccable. 

The Times and Hartford Advertiser, Hartford, Connecticut, on 
Tuesday, September 7, 1824, had this paragraph: 

"Lafayette was met at the line of the State on Friday 
evening ( September 3 ) by a deputation from the city, con- 
sisting of Daniel Wadsworth and Henry L. Ellsworth, 
Esqrs., and having passed the night at the Springs in Staf- 
ford, he was the next morning escorted by a troop of horses 
to King's Tavern in Vernon, where he was received, and 
for the remainder of the way escorted by the first company 
of Horse Guards under the command of Major Hart." 

Early in the morning of Saturday, the 4th September, 1824, 
Lafayette and his party arrived at the King's Tavern. It was a 
wet and rainy day. The trees were just thinking of turning color 
and added charm to the delightful occasion. The General was 
graciously and expeditiously entertained at breakfast by the few 
remaining veterans of the Revolutionary War residing in the vicin- 
ity: Captain Chapman, Boswell Smith, David Smith, Lemuel Rog- 
ers, Justice Talcott, and Lemuel King. A certain Maria Barber, of 
Vernon, who claimed she was a waitress at the old King Tavern, 
remembered waiting on the distinguished guest. The militia, con- 
sisting of two companies, with the addition of two heavy cannon, 
had waited long for the General, and from sunrise on Friday until 


twelve in the night the guns had kept up their continual roaring. 
The militia remained at their posts past midnight, and then with a 
feeling of great disappointment disbanded. On that night the 
windows of the few houses along the turnpike were softly illum- 
inated by candlelight. 

Hezekiah King, for whom the tavern was built by his father 
Lemuel, has left this record: 

"Forty years after the day, General Lafayette and the 
few remaining Revolutionary soldiers met in the parlor, 
assembled here by their old comrade Lemuel King. One 
who was present with his sword and scarf was made thor- 
oughly happy by being at once recognized as a former 
aide-de-camp, and by having Lafayette throw his arms 
around him, and having him exclaim — "Mon ami, cher 
Capitaine Chapman." 

Lemuel King purchased a barouche and four white 
horses especially for this occasion. General Lafayette en- 
tered the carriage and was driven to the City Hotel, Hart- 
ford. The driver was John M. King (Lemuel King's young- 
est son) who was entrusted with the responsibility of car- 
rying such a distinguished person. 

Lemuel King was personally known to Lafayette and 
it was for this reason that he besought the General to 
spend the night at Vernon on his way from Boston to New 
York, as he lived on the direct mail route." 

The State House and Phoenix Bank with other elegant man- 
sions in different parts of Hartford where preparations had been 
made for a brilliant display of fireworks, were disappointed by 
the arrival of a messenger about one o'clock in the morning with 
the intelligence that the General would sleep in Stafford about 
26 miles from town — the lights were reluctantly extinguished and 
the citizens retired to rest for the night. 

The sound of cannon again aroused the population from sleep 
at dawn of day, and though the weather remained inclement, people 
poured into the city through every street. Messrs. H. Terry, J. T. 
Peters, T. Day, C. Nichols, G. Lyman, H. L. Ellsworth, J. Russ, 
N. A. Phelps, and C. Sigourney met General Lafayette at East 
Hartford, and conducted him to the city. He arrived at half-past 
eleven, amid roaring of cannon, ringing of bells, and the cheering 
of the multitude. 


About 800 children between the ages of six and twelve years, 
irrepressibly convivial, the girls dressed in white, and all wearing 
badges, carried this motto: "Nous vous aimons LaFayette." The 
Deaf and Dumb Pupils of the Asylum assembled in the yard of 
the State House with awed delight, wearing Badges with this sig- 
nificant, tender inscription: "We feel what our country expresses!" 

Doctor Comstock presented to Lafayette, in behalf of the 
children, a gold medal, having on one side a facsimile of the motto 
and ornaments on their Badges, and on the other side this inscrip- 
tion: "Presented by the Children of Hartford, September 4, 1824." 




The Daughters of the American Revolution, Sabra Trumbull 
Chapter No. 29, organized with fifteen members in Rockville, May 
15, 1895, fulfilled their charter obligation "to perpetuate the mem- 
ory of the men and women of the American Revolution" when on 
Thursday, June 12, 1902, thev dedicated to the memory of Lafayette 
a small plot of land made into a park at the intersection of Grove, 
East and South Streets, just opposite the famous Vernon Inn, now 
the town farm. The Memorial consists of a large native boulder 
and a granite drinking fountain. 

Fields, woods and by-ways were carefully searched for a 
boulder of natural growth, fitting; to stand as a symbol of honor 
and gratitude to a firm friend of America. This was found on 
Michael Dalv's fann. Nature resisted several efforts to remove a 
weight of over twelve tons, but finally a force of men dragged it 
from its primeval home and placed it upon hallowed ground where 
in strength and dignity it still stands. The huge boulder required 
eight horses to draw it. 

"A boulder, which for aye shall stand 
And speak to every passer-bv 
Of him, who heard our country's cry 
For help." 

On the boulder is an inscription on a bronze plate written bv 
Connecticut's Chief Executive, the Honorable George McLean: "In 
Grateful Memory of General Lafayette, whose love of liberty 
brought him to American shores to dedicate his life and fortune 
to the cause of the Colonies, the Sabra Trumbull Chapter of the 
Daughters of the American Revolution erected this monument near 
the old King Tavern, where he was entertained in 1824.'' 

Through the generosity of the Vice-Regent, Mrs. Celia W. 
Prescott, a granite drinking fountain was also dedicated, afford- 
ing to dumb beasts a luxury whereby they may quench their thirst 
in silent gratitude, and teaching a lesson in the inscription, "A 
merciful man will be merciful to his beast." 

Truly it was Lafayette Day. People began to assemble quite 
earlv in the morning to see the display of flags, and buildings dec- 
orated with bunting and other tri-colored material. A procession 
preceded the exercises. 



A great grandson of Lafayette, Count Paul Lafayette of France, 
who was in Washington, was expected at the celebration, but 
found it impossible to attend. 


Invocation Rev. J. H. James 

Address of Welcome Mrs. Lizzie S. Belding, Chapter Regent 

Address. Mrs. Charles W. Fairbanks, President General National Society 
Introduced by Mrs. Sarah T. Kinney, State Regent 

Music — "The Star-Spangled Banner" Hatch's Band 

Oration — "General Lafayette" Hon. Charles Phelps 

Unveiling the Tablet Miss Belding and Miss Heath 

Music — "Marsellaise Hymn" Hatch's Band 

Address — "Our Flag" Colonel Henry H. Adams 

Music Putnam Phalanx Band 

Presentation of Lafayettt Park to the City of Rockville 

Mrs. Lizzie S. Belding 

Acceptance in behalf of the City Mayor W. H. Loomis 

Music — "America" . Sung by the audience, accompanied by Hatch's Band 

As a finale to the program of the day, Mrs. Belding gave a 
reception to the president-general, and a public lawn party on her 
spacious grounds at Castle Sunset. Chinese lanterns hung from 
the trees and balconies, and the whole scene represented a fain- 

Mrs. Landreth Hezekiah King writes of the event: 

"I attended the ceremony of the unveiling of the 
tablet which was erected as a memorial bv the D.A.R. to 
Lafayette at Vernon. 

"I never expect to feel more like Rovaltv than I did 
that day as I rode in an open barouche with my husband's 
mother and father, the latter reallv beino; the hero of the 
occasion. The horses wore plumes, and we were preceded 
by a band, and there was much applause and bowing and 
waving to the right and left as we drove to the Tavern. 
Then my husband delivered the address." 





In the long ago milestones served as guides. They carried 
cheer to weary travelers. They were more reliable as to distances 
than the statement of the local resident or the proverbial farmer's 

The road started from the Court House in Tolland, passed 
through Vernon Center on to East Hartford, and to the Ferry, the 
only means at that time of crossing the Connecticut River at Hart- 

The stones of the turnpike in the early periods were not more 
than two feet high and two feet wide. The one at Vernon Center 
is a splendid specimen. Seventy years ago there were about 500 
stones in our own State but not more than 300 are now in existence. 

Milestones went out of business with the introduction of the 
improved methods of transportation, and when later the automobile 
came, and vast reconstruction of highways was carried on, the mile- 
stone lost its usefulness, and now stands as a historical relic, keep- 
ing a gate open into the past. 

Seeking to link the past with the present in reverence and loy- 
alty, progressive Sabra Trumbull Chapter, Daughters of the Amer- 
ican Revolution, perpetuated one of these historic landmarks on a 
memorable day — Flag Day — June 14, 1934. 

Brief exercises were held. Speakers on the occasion — Dr. 
Henry P. Sage, of New Haven, a recognized authority on Con- 
necticut milestones, of the Connecticut State Highway Department, 
Dr. George S. Brookes, pastor of Union Church, and Harry C. 
Smith, a native of Vernon and a descendant of one of the town's 
pioneer families. 

The milestone is set in a Bane granite slab. On it is a bronze 
tablet, with the insignia of the D.A.R. The tablet bears an in- 
scription which appropriately calls attention to the milestone and 
the site of the McLean tavern. 

Within a few feet of the milestone erected in 1801, seven years 
older than the town of Vernon, by the Hartford and Tolland Turn- 
pike Company, is the site on which stood the McLean tavern, now 
the Tolland County Home. The old Stage Coach stopped at this 
tavern. The center of true neighborliness, it was built by Alexander 
McLean in 1793. 




The inscription on the tablet is as follows: 

"Old Milestone erected by Hartford and Tolland Turnpike 
Company, 1801. Six miles to Tolland Court House. Mc- 
Lean tavern, built in 1793, stood on these grounds. 
Marker placed by Sabra Trumbull Chapter, D.A.R., June 
14, 1934. 



In the days before steam was applied to transportation, the 
turnpike served as the great carrier of men and goods, and opened 
the Dig world to many an obscure village. Indeed, it was the first 
step in advance for the upkeep of roads. As early as the year 1783, 
Levi Pease, in company with Joseph Sykes, Bostonians, established 
a stage line between Boston and New York over the stone-strewn 
and crooked roads which then constituted the northern route, pass- 
ing through Worcester, Palmer, Stafford Springs, Vernon, and 

Josiah Quincy has described in a playful manner his experi- 
ence by this route in 1784: 

"I set out from Boston on the line of stage established 
by an enterprising Yankee. The journey took a week. The 
carriage was old and shackling, and much of the harness 
was made of ropes. One pair of horses carried the stage 
eighteen miles. We generally reached our resting place 
for the night, if no accident intervened, at ten o'clock, and 
after a frugal supper went to bed with a notice that we 
should be called at three the next morning. Then whether 
it snowed or rained the traveler must rise and make ready 
by the help of a horn lantern and a farthing candle, and 
proceed on his way over bad roads. Thus we traveled 
eighteen miles a stage, sometimes obliged to get out and 
help the coachman lift the coach out of a quagmire or rut, 
and arrived at New York after a week's hard traveling, 
wondering at the ease as well as the expedition of our 

Prior to 1806 (the year the turnpike road was actually built 
between Boston and New York) these stages journeyed over 254 
miles of road, the distance being reduced by road improvements to 
210 miles by 1821. The cost: Fourpence per mile per passenger — 
£3-10-0 one way. New York was reached by way of Worcester, 
Stafford, Vernon, Hartford, and New Haven in forty hours. 

The stage coach driver soon became a famous institution 
throughout New England. Muffled in winter in his huge grav 
woolen scarf, and nestled in warm robes, he defiantly flung off 
the icy arrows of the season. In summer, when on the hillv roads 





time loitered like an idle errand boy, he kept his passengers in a 
jovial mood with his colorful and unconventional personality, his 
sage observation and flashes of wit. Friendliness was his forte and 
honor his charm.l The notes from his horn reverberated among the 
hills as he drew up to the tavern where horses and gossip were 
swapped. The hostler watered the horses, while the mail was 
shifting. Countless errands were entrusted to his elastic memory. 

In 1793 Alexander McLean, a hard working man of North 
Bolton, built a tavern at Vernon Center, which was used for many 
years as an orphan asylum. All the stage coaches stopped here. It 
stood on the site now occupied by the Tolland County Home. 

Another tavern, or wayside inn, well-known in the early days 
of the town was the Sullivan House at Dobsonville. Social enter- 
tainments were often enjoyed there. The old dance hall can still 
be seen. About six feet from the floor there is a little alcove, where 
popular "Bije" Evans used to fiddle for the dancers. The menag- 
eries which came to town exhibited in front of this tavern. 

All the coaches stopped at King's Tavern, Vernon, for fresh 
relays of horses. Passengers eagerlv crossed the road to Waffle 
Tavern, famous for its delicious waffles, hot enough to tempt the 
most jaded appetite, and the liquors were of the best. It was often 
remarked that even a glass of water over this bar was worth three 
cents. Lemuel Kins; bought the Rich farm and lived there. A 
member of the King familv tells that when the stage reached the toll 
gate, a little west of the tavern, the horn was sounded, and imme- 
diately the waffle irons were put into the coals to heat. The mother 
of Samuel J. Chaffee, formerly of Rockville, was emploved at the 
tavern as cook. 

The tavern's popularity increased when in June, 1812. Con- 
gress made a declaration of war against Britain, and all American 
vessels were barred from sailing from New York to Boston and 
elsewhere. The route bv sea around Point ludith was avoided, 
and peoole therefore had to travel by road. Waffle Tavern could 
not possiblv accommodate the increasing number of travelers. 

In 1820 and 1821 Lemuel King built the commodious brick 
tavern, later called Vernon Inn, now the town farm. The brick 
for the new building was manufactured on the ground, and when 
completed the inn was pronounced one of the best buildings in the 
State, east of the Connecticut River. After a centurv and a quar- 
ter, the building remains a monument to the skill and workmanship 
of the builders. 

Vernon Inn was the gift of Lemuel King to his son Hezekiah. 


on the occasion of his twenty-first birthday, and the affection of 
the soldier was certainly reflected in the costly appurtenances of 
the tavern. The parlor was a feast for the artistic eye. The wall 
paper was pictorial. Mythological characters portrayed Ceres, the 
Roman goddess of grain; the Roman Hercules in the act of slaying 
the dragon; and Atalanta, the Greek, in one of her celebrated 
bursts of speed. The sunny rooms, the wide stairway, the antique 
furniture, the business den, the twenty horses in the stables, and 
the hitching posts which now stand unused engrave upon our im- 
agination that center of social life in the long ago, to which the 
stage coaches brought tidings from the outer world. Ivied tradi- 
tion tells us that Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, General Grant, and 
other distinguished personages shared the hospitality of the inn, 
and the visit of General Lafayette is anchored in facts. 

From the diary of the honorable Timothy Bigelow, noted au- 
thor and traveler of Boston, we glean his impression of the tavern 
in a trip he took from Boston to Philadelphia in 1822: 

"From Stafford Springs, the first town in Connecticut, 
we went to Tolland in Connecticut, where we intended to 
have dined, but were prevented by a hungry collection of 
Conventional ministers, who had assembled there that day 
from all parts of Connecticut, and it was said would prob- 
ably consume all there was in the place that could be pos- 
sibly put on the table that day. We stopped, and en- 
quiring, were told by the landlord that if we would sit 
down with a few of them we could stand some chance of 
whetting our whistles, but must scramble for the rest, as 
they were a very hungry race of men — or, he said, we 
could go on — which we preferred, and we rode as far as 
King's Inn, in Vernon, Connecticut, where we arrived about 
three o'clock, and were provided with every refreshment 
we could wish. We had a good dinner, well cooked, good 
attendance, and the house one of the best ever visited by 
travelers in this or any other country. It is a house in 
every respect well worthy of the attention of travelers." 

The toll house on the turnpike stood on the site now occupied 
by Mr. Benton's antique shop at the junction of South Street (then 
Squire Rogers Street) and the highway. The house was painted 
red, and Thaddeus C. Bruce collected the toll. "Squire" Bruce 
they called him, for he held court in his house occasionally to deal 
with cases of disorderly conduct in the vicinity. He owned a farm 


in the eastern part of the town and his house, located on the turn- 
pike near its intersection with South Street, was used as a toll 
house. Judge Bruce in true Masonic fashion called it "The East 
Gate." He was a noted local character. His tall, ungainly form, 
unkempt appearance, unconventional manner and jovial ways were 
a frequent source of joy and delight to the younger brethren. It 
was "Brother" Bruce who arranged for the first lodge room in 
what was formerly the dance hall of the old brick tavern. 

Another of Brace's arrangements proved disagreeable and 
costly to himself and others. He owned a swamp on land adjoin- 
ing his home. He persuaded a group of people to invest in his 
"peat bog," in the hope of saving the cost of wood and coal. But 
Brace's peat turned out to be nothing but mud, and time and 
money went up in smoke. 

The toll gates were about ten miles apart. Twenty-five cents 
admitted a pleasure carriage and horses, while farmers and drovers 
paid one cent for the passage of each sheep or swine. A man with 
his horse paid four cents, but persons living within a mile of the 
gate or attending church or a funeral were allowed the priviliges 
of the gate without charge. 


Colonel Lemuel King died in 1827. The next year his son, 
Hezekiah, was induced to go to St. Louis, where he entered into 
a partnership with his brother-in-law, John Warburton, but the 
King Tavern still had history to make as the home of the poor and 
unfortunate of the Town of Vernon. In the meantime, Sanford 
Grant and Ruell McKinley, ancestors of Hezekiah King, were suc- 
cessful proprietors of the tavern. 

In the year 1847, when staging was abandoned, the King Tav- 
ern was closed. It was used as a farmhouse until purchased by 
the Town of Vernon. 

Previous to 1868, those who were unfortunate enough to apply 
to the town authorities for assistance or comfort were boarded at 
different places. Those having relatives or friends were allowed, 
if possible, to remain with them, the town bearing the necessary 
expense. Frequently two or three were boarded at one place for 
a stipulated price, though the Town of Vernon never adopted the 
plan of allowing the support of the poor to be auctioned off to 
the lowest bidder, as was the custom in many towns in earlier 
times, and still prevails in some localities. 

On December 4, 1826, it was voted that the Selectmen be au- 
thorized to establish a workhouse in this town or if thought best 
to negotiate with and join some neighboring town for said purpose. 

So on January 13, 1840, the town made arrangements with 
Mr. Henry Watrous, of South Coventry, "to receive into his work- 
house all persons sentenced to the workhouse by the civil authori- 
ties of Vernon the present year." 

A special town meeting was held on the 26th day of October, 
1367, "to see about buying a farm for the purpose of caring for 
'he poor." A committee was appointed consisting of William R. 
Orcutt, Arnold Carey and Isaac Chester for that purpose, and after 
an exhaustive investigation reported at another special meeting 
held on November 18, 1867, strongly favoring the purchasing of a 
farm owned by David F. Dart. The report was accepted unani- 
mously, and the property deeded to the Town in consideration of 
$5,800. L. A. Corbin, A. R. Talcott, and F. A. Little were the 
selectmen at the time. 

They expended the sum of $1,749.50, purchased a yoke of 
oxen for $300 and two cows for $170. Other land was purchased 



later from Rowena Rich and John Kingsbury. Today the town 
farm consists of eighty acres. 

In 1883, the town appropriated $800 to replace the barn which 
had been destroyed by fire; on December 1, 1888, the Selectmen 
were instructed to put in a steam-heating apparatus, and in 1891 
by vote of the town, $15,000 was spent in further improvements. 
There are 22 sleeping rooms, two dining rooms, kitchen, laundry, 
bathrooms, smoke room and two pantries to accommodate the ten 

Mr. Everett Robertson was appointed superintendent April 6, 


A post office was established at Bolton, Tolland County, Con- 
necticut, on September 30, 1812. It was discontinued on January 31, 
1940, reestablished on April 18, 1940, and discontinued on Decem- 
ber 31, 1942. Listed below are the names of the postmasters who 
served at Bolton and the date of appointment of each, as shown in 
the records of the Post Office Department now in the National 
Archives and in records still maintained by the Department: 

Postmaster Date of Appointment 

Saul Alvord September 30, 1812 

Samuel Williams October 18, 1828 

Jabez S. White May 19, 1837 

Hubble B. Alvord June 1, 1841 

Jabez S. White August 16, 1843 

Elisha K. Williams September 6, 1845 

Albert Ruggles July 9, 1861 

Mrs. M. Amelia Ruggles October 15, 1864 

Henry Alvord October 28, 1865 

Sherman Summer September 27, 1870 

John A. Loomis April 21, 1876 

John A. Alvord March 28, 1881 

John A. Loomis October 25, 1883 

William B. Williams January 13, 1887 

Everett M. Beebe September 26, 1890 

William C. White October 3, 1891 

Maude E. White May 6, 1912 

Miss Adelia N. Loomis December 2, 1919 

Mrs. Ruth E. McDonnough April 18, 1940 

Mail route service to Bolton for the period 1828-1833 indicates 
that Mail Contract No. 334, from New London (via Uncasville, 
Norwich City, Norwich, Franklin, Lebanon, Columbia, Andover, 
Bolton, Manchester, and East Hartford) to Hartford, a distance 
of 541/2 miles, three times a week, in carriages, was let to Zorister 
Bonney of Hartford. 

The post office at Vernon, Tolland County, Connecticut, was 
established as Vernon Depot on July 29, 1853. Its name was 
changed to Vernon on September 28, 1885. Listed below are the 
names of the postmasters who served at Vernon and the date of 
appointment of each, as shown in the records of the Post Office 
Department now in the National Archives: 



Postmaster Date of Appointment 

Ira Ellis July 29, 1853 

Alfred K. Talcott June 17, 1861 

Ransal H. Agard September 27, 1866 

Benjamin C. Phelps July 16, 1872 

Gideon G. Tillinghast July 18, 1889 

Waldo E. Tillinghast February 10, 1914 

John J. Merz April 6, 1923 

Mrs. Florence L. Foley December 31, 1948 

(Still serving) 

The post office at Vernon Center, Tolland County, Connecti- 
cut, was established at Vernon about March 24, 1812. Its name 
was changed to Vernon Center on June 24, 1885. This post office 
was discontinued on March 15, 1910. Listed below are the names 
of the postmasters who served at Vernon Center and the date of 
appointment of each, as shown in the records of the Post Office 
Department now in the National Archives: 

Postmaster Date of Appointment 

Lebbeus P. Tinker March 24, 1812 

Edwin G. Brigham October 1, 1844 

Francis McLean, Jr. July 14, 1849 

Eugene F. McLean January 5, 1863 

William H. Allen June 22, 1869 

Miss Hattie E. Bill March 29, 1878 

Hattie E. Ingraham November 26, 1880 

Susan L. Bill July 16, 1886 

Selina G. Butler April 19, 1887 

Mail route service to Vernon Center ( formerly Vernon ) for the 
period 1828-1833 indicates that Mail Contract No. 367, from New 
Haven (via Northford, Durham, Middletown, Upper Middletown, 
Rocky Hill, Wethersfield, Hartford, East Hartford, Vernon, Tol- 
land, Stafford Springs, Holland, Sturbridge, Charlton, Clappville, 
Worcester, Westboro, Southboro, Framingham, Natick, Newton, 
Newton Upper Fall, and Brighton) to Boston let to Nathan Peck 
& Co. of New Haven, a distance of 135 miles, daily in stages. 

The first post office building was erected on the site of the old 
County Home. 


The Probate Court was constituted for the Ellington District 
on May 31, 1826, including both the towns of Ellington and Vernon. 
At that time, Ellington was a larger community than Rockville. 

The first judge was Asa Willey whose first term was from 
1826 to 1833. Apparently judges at that time were elected for one 
year, with the term of office later being increased to two years, 
and in 1949 to four years. 

Mr. Willey served at three different times. Records show that 
this was not at all uncommon, for in many cases a judge who was 
out of office for a period would be re-elected. Whether this was 
due to political differences or to other factors is not known. Mr. 
Willey and Benjamin Pinney alternated in office from 1826 to 1841, 
serving for various lengths of time. Another judge who was "in 
and out" was Phineas Talcott, first elected in 1844, with his final 
term ending in 1858. Some of these judges, especially the early 
ones, undoubtedly came from Ellington. 

Where the courtroom was located before the Memorial Build- 
ing is not known, except that Judge Talcott held court in the east 
wing of his home on Prospect Street, where he had a good-sized 
courtroom and an office. This property now serves the Union 
Congregational Church as a parsonage. It was the Talcott family 
who gave Talcott Park to the city. 

At least two of the judges of the Probate Court held high state 
offices. They were D wight W. Loomis, who became a Superior 
Court judge, and Lyman T. Tingier, who became lieutenant gov- 
ernor of Connecticut. 

The following is the list of judges and their terms: 

Asa Willey— 1826-1833 
Benjamin Pinney — 1833-34 
Asa Willey— 1834-35 
Benjamin Pinney — 1835-38 
Asa Willey— 1838-41 
Oliver H. King— 1841-42 
Thaddeus C. Bruce — 1842-44 
Phineas Talcott — 1844-46 
Joel W. Smith— 1846-47 
Phineas Talcott — 1847-50 
Thaddeus C. Bruce — 1850-51 
Phineas Talcott — 1851-54 
Dwight W. Loomis — 1854-55 



Frank W. Perry — 1855-57 
Phineas Talcott — 1857-58 
Caleb Hopkins— 1858-69 
Gelon West— 1869-90 
Lyman Twining Tingier — 1890-95 
Lester D. Phelps— 1895-1903 
Edward P. Reiser — 1903-05 
John E. Fahey— 1905-29 
C. Denison Talcott — 1929-37 
Francis T. O'Loughlin — 1937-47 
Nelson C. Mead— 1947-49 
Thomas F. Rady — 1949- 

December 2, 1811 

Voted that swine be allowed to go at large on the highways 
and commons on condition of having two rings in each nose. 
April 12, 1813 

Voted to accept of the Rridge built by Chester King's saw mill 
to be considered in future as belonging to the Town as other bridges 

Whereas the convenience and safety of persons passing and 
traveling in the highway, especially in difficult places, is of public 
and general concern, and whereas immediately west of the meet- 
ing house in Vernon the road goes down a long steep hill so that 
people on foot are greatly exposed to be run upon by sleighs, wag- 
ons and carriages of all descriptions, especially on the Sabbath, 
voted that the posts now standing in said road to protect a side- 
walk shall be continued and kept in constant repair by the surveyor 
of the District. 
April 5, 1824 

Voted that the selectmen procure a place to erect a Building 
for the Hearse. 
December 6, 1824 

Voted to solicit subscriptions for building a house for the 
April 2, 1827 

Voted that neat cattle, horses, mules, and creese be restrained 
from going at large on the Highways and commons in the Town 
of Vernon. 
December 6, 1830 — Meeting at Conference Room 

Voted that the several surveyors allow eight cents per hour 
for labor of able-bodied men and others in proportion. 

That the Selectmen procure as much stove pipe and put up 
the same in the Conference Room as they may think necessary to 
prevent smoke in the room. 

1831 — The following legislation on temperance in December 1831: 

"Resolved as the sense of this meeting that the civil 
authorities be requested not to grant any retailing 



license in the town the ensuing year." 
December 4, 1837 

That the selectmen agree with some person to ring and toll 
the bell at the time of any death or funeral. 
December 2, 1839 

That the selectmen agree with some person to ring and toll 
the bell at the deaths and funerals of those for whom it is requested. 

In 1840, January, a meeting was warned, among other things, 
to see if said town will license taverners or retailers to sell wines 
and spirituous liquors. Being decided in the affirmative, it was 
voted "That the storekeepers who keep drugs and medicines for 
sale have license to sell wines and spirituous liquors for medicinal 
purposes and the mechanic arts the year ensuing." 

In October 1845, vote by ballot was taken for special commis- 
sioners to grant licenses for the sale of wines and spirituous liquors 
the ensuing year when Alonzo Bailey, Nathaniel O. Kellogg and 
Edwin G. Brigham were declared duly chosen for that purpose. 
October 4, 1852 

That the school visitors of the school societies be paid out of 
the town treasury hereafter. 

That the Town pay annually hereafter the sum of thirty dol- 
lars to the first Ecclesiastical Society in Vernon for the use of 
their Conference Room for town purposes. 

From 1856 town meetings were held in alternate years at 
Rockville and Vernon Center. In 1865 all such meetings were 
transferred to Rockville. 
April 30, 1861 — Special Town Meeting 

Selectmen be authorized to furnish one Colts Revolver to each 
member of the Citizens' Guard of Rockville in case they are called 
into actual service; and that said arms are to belong to the town. 
May 6, 1861 

That town furnish each member of the Citizens' Guard of 
Rockville going into actual service with a uniform and that said 
uniforms belong to the town until the expense is assumed by the 
July 19, 1862 

Selectmen shall pay a bounty of fifty dollars to anv resident 
of the Town who shall volunteer and become enrolled in a Military 
company to go into the Army for the defense of the country. The 
call of the President is for 300,000 volunteers. Defray expenses of 


caring for sick and wounded soldiers. [The Emancipation Procla- 
mation went into effect the next year, 1863.] 
October 20. 1862 — Special Town Meeting 

Town Clerk instructed to place on record account of all the 
men who have enlisted and who may enlist in the Amiv or Xaw 
from this town. 
November 22. 1864 

Selectmen instructed to fill quota of the Town for a future call 
of 500.000 men upon the best terms thev can obtain. -S200 to be 
paid to even' man who shall enlist or procure a substitute, same 
paid when accepted. 
August 22. 1865 

A sum of $25,000 be appropriated for the purpose of defraying 
all necessary expenses incurred in war. -S300 each for persons 
drafted. [Lincoln was assassinated in 1865.] 
October 26. 1867 

Sum of $1500 to be used for a soldiers' monument when a like 
sum has been raised bv subscriptions. 

[The Tolland Countv Journal of April 18. 1868. informs us 
that Rockville is just now suffering from some very severe strokes 
of misfortune. Two important firms have publicly stated their in- 
ability to meet the demands of creditors. The Florence Mills and 
the Rose Silk Manufacturing Companv are embarrassed.] 

[It was in the vear 1869 that the Fifteenth Amendment was 
passed bv both houses, giving suffrage to the Negroes.] 

In 1878 — that the pavment for an annual dinner for the town 
authorities be discontinued. 

L880 — The whole number of names on the Registry List of 
the Town of Vernon used at the Electors' and Town Meeting was 

[In 1882 the Citizens' Band engaged premises for a roller 
skating rink at the old Envelope Shop — a skate room, raised plat- 
form for music and spectators. Floor space 90 x 40 ft. Admission. 
gents 10c ladies free. Use of skates 15c per night.] 

During the decade from 1880-1890 the issue of granting licenses 
for spirituous liquors was voted upon each year. Only once, in 
1884. did a majoritv oppose license, and then only by a majority 
of 38. [There was a lack of ethical traffic lights in those vears.] 
October 10, 1885 

A committee reported that something ought to be done in 


honor of the soldiers who went forth in the defense of the Stars 
and Stripes in the late War of the Rebellion. Favor of the pur- 
chase of a lot by the Town and the creation of a Memorial Build- 
ing thereon. 
October 12, 1389 

That the Town pav a bounty of $2.00 each on foxes killed and 
a bounty of 25c on woodchucks killed in the town of Vernon. 
October 19, 1893 

Evening school 250 applied for instruction. Appropriation and 
plans made for only 50. 
November 16, 1393 

Bell in Methodist Church is not powerful enough to give a 
thorough alarm. 

On October 5, 1893, at the Annual Town Meeting, for the 
first time women were allowed to vote. Bv an act of the State 
Legislature, July 1, 1893, women had been granted the right to 
vote "at any meeting held for the purpose of choosing anv officer 
of schools or for any education purpose." At the October meeting. 
1893. 349 of Vernon's women cast their ballots. It is interesting 
to note that the noveltv of the ballot soon wore off. In 1895, 19 
women voted; in 1897, 21 women cast their votes; in 1898, onlv 
5 women were interested; and in 1901. not one woman voted. 

An editorial in the Sun, Xew York's great newspaper, with 
ideas of its own on woman's suffrage, printed this paragraph on 
October 17, 1895: 

"In Tolland Countv, a strait-laced, old-fashioned agri- 
cultural region among tall, rugged hills, and with no con- 
siderable towns, the woman vote was in effect nil, since in 
nine-tenths of the town not a woman voted." 

April 12, 1894 

Xew jail buildings. Tolland Countv. erected to take the place 
of the one burned last September, now readv for occupancv. Sub- 
stantial in construction, convenient in arrangement and artistic in 
October 1, 1894 

Voted 81000 to establish and maintain Evening Schools. In 
1897 — Bicvcle regulations were made for the first time: 

Everv owner or keeper of a bicvcle shall annuallv on or be- 
fore the first dav of June cause said bicvcle to be registered, num- 


bered, described, and licensed for one year in the town clerk's of- 
fice. One dollar for bicycle carrying one person — two dollars for 
two persons or more. 

The town tree warden, Samuel K. Ellis, planted an elm with 
appropriate exercises in the school yard of East School, named 
"Ellis Elm." Exercises on Tuesday, April 11, 1911. The same day 
Ellis planted a sugar maple in the school yard of the West District. 
July 10, 1913 

Lightning never strikes twice in the same place, so they say, 
but the tower on Memorial Building was struck for the third time 
last Sunday. 

A War Bulletin Board was erected on Town property east of 
Memorial Building March 9, 1918. 

November 4, 1918 — Special Town Meeting 

Resolved that $2500 be appropriated by the town for the pur- 
pose of defraying in part expenses of Emergency Hospital during 
the prevalence of the influenza epidemic. 
September 23, 1920 

Women were very eager to use the right to vote as given them 
by the 19th amendment. Seven hundred twenty -five women filed 
applications. It was necessary for registrars to swear in deputies 
for clerical duty. 
November 19, 1923 — Special Town Meeting 

Resolved a committee of seven be appointed to consider plans 
for a permanent memorial to those residents of the town of Vernon 
who served in World War and in other wars of our country. 
October 6, 1924 

Voted to sell the old school building situated on Maple Street 
to the highest bidder, who is to remove the same. (The building 
stood on a site to the rear of the present building.) 
October 2, 1922 

That the town of Vernon shall build and equip a building for 
public school purposes on the land now owned by said town at 
corner of Union and Maple Streets, not to exceed $118,000 in cost. 

October 5, 1925 

Committee on War Memorial suggested a large stone tower 
(somewhat on lines of the far-famed tower at Newport) about 40 
feet high be erected on Fox Hill. 
July 2, 1927 

The School Committee returned to the town $5000 of the 


$40,000 appropriated for the repairing and refitting the old High 
School building. 
July 3, 1935 

Application to Federal Emergency Administration of Public 
Works for a grant to aid in financing the construction of War Me- 
morial, School and Recreation Center. 
August 31, 1935 — Special 

To see if town will allow the sale of alcoholic liquor on prem- 
ises operating under hotel permitting restaurant and club permits 
on Sundays between 12 noon and 9:00 in the evening. Yes, 122 — 
No, 130— defeated. 

John Booth Thomas, esteemed town clerk for 21 years, passed 
away on January 13, 1936. A Yale man of the Class of 1893, he 
was always competent and considerate. 
October 3, 1938 

Minutes of this annual town meeting had special reference to 
the recent flood and hurricane. $75,000 appropriated to meet ex- 
penses of repairing or rebuilding roads, bridges, public buildings 
and other damage. 

Monday morning, September 19, 1938, opened a week unfor- 
gettable in New England history — one of America's costliest dis- 
asters. It is still called Connecticut's Black Hour of 1938. The 
death toll was 558 in the region, with property losses estimated 
from $150 to $400 million. It rained Saturday, Sunday, Monday 
and Tuesday, then on Wednesday, September 21, between 4:10 p.m. 
and 5 p.m. within 40 minutes more than 100 Connecticut residents 
were dead. 

A Tree Planting Ceremony took place on a Saturday afternoon 
in April, 1939, in Central Park, under the auspices of Sabra Trum- 
bull Chapter, D.A.R. Mrs. O. C. Peterson, Regent. 

This was part of a plan of the organization to plant trees in 
our parks and streets to replace some of the beautiful landmarks 
destroyed by the hurricane. 
November 4, 1941 — Special Town Meeting 

The establishing of a Recreation Center within the town of 
Vernon was voted. 
March 20, 1941 

Fire destroys the Rockville Journal Building — The old White 
Opera House ( corner Brooklyn and Market Streets ) . 
December 18, 1941 

Council grants permit to tear down Railroad Station. Permis- 


sion given to Leo Abel of East Hartford to raze the old railroad 
station of the New Haven road on Market Street. Station was a 
one-story frame building over 50 years old. 
March 17, 1942 

Resolved that a five per cent discount be allowed to all tax- 
payers who pay their current year's taxes in full on or before 
April 15. 

Voted to adopt the use of voting machines at all elections. 
October 1, 1942 

Hospital Trustees purchased Miss J. Alice Maxwell property 
on Union Street. Acquired estate for a hospital. 
October 6, 1942 

Voted to appropriate the sum of $750 for the erection of an 
Honor Roll for the citizens from the Town of Vernon who are 
members of the country's armed forces. 
June 15, 1943 

Approved the use of the Vernon Center School for housing 
Fire Department truck and equipment. 

Permit the Dobsonville Auxiliary Fire Department to erect a 
building to house fire equipment on land of the Dobsonville School 
May 4, 1944 

Sale recorded of historical property at Vernon Center — Henry 
E. and Florence B. Marcham have purchased from John R. King 
his farm and buildings located on the turnpike at Vernon Center 
for their future home. This is the site upon which the first house 
of worship in the town of Vernon was erected. The meeting house 
stood on the top of the hill about a half mile east of the present 
meeting house in Vernon Center. 
August 29, 1944 

To authorize the Board of Selectmen to sell to the State of 
Connecticut 3.03 acres of land located at the Town Farm. 
May 29, 1945 

The legal voters hereby authorize and instruct the Board of 
Selectmen on behalf of the Town of Vernon to convey by deed to 
the American Legion, Stanley Dobosz Post No. 14, Inc., a certain 
piece or parcel of land situated on the easterly side of East Street 
approximately 350 feet front and 500 feet deep for a club house, 
athletic, recreational and parking purposes. Upon termination of 
existence of the American Legion it shall revert to Town. The 
town to donate its one-half interest in the "Observation Hut" now 


situated on Fox Hill to Stanley Post to be removed to newly ac- 
quired location. 
December 16, 1945 

Voted to grant to Vernon Fire Company #2 the use of the 
Dobsonville School House for recreational purposes. 
October 15, 1946 — Special Town Meeting 

Resolved that for the Town of Vernon celebration or home- 
coming in honor of the Armed Services in World War II, the sum 
of $2500 is hereby appropriated to defray the expense of said cele- 
bration or home-coming. 

December 17, 1946 

Voted to approve the payment of a $300 bonus to each of the 
teaching and non-teaching employees of the Board of Education; 
to each clerk, and to the janitor in the Memorial Building, to the 
Superintendent of the Town Farm and a $60 bonus to the part- 
time janitor of the Vernon Depot School and a $30 bonus to the 
school nurse. 
August 19, 1947 — Special Town Meeting 

The Board of Selectmen to construct a parking place on the 
vacant lot adjoining the Memorial Building for the convenience of 
officials occupying the Memorial Building. Voted. 

October 6, 1947 

Favored the participation with the other towns of Tolland 
County in forming a Health District. 
September 26, 1950 

Voted to appropriate a sum not to exceed three hundred sev- 
enty-three thousand, one hundred twenty-three and 11/100 $373,- 
123.11, for the erection, equipping, and suitable furnishing of one 
elementary school within said town; the said amount to include 
the purchase of a site and all other costs and charges. 
February 27, 1951 

First Selectman Herbert Pagani presented the following reso- 
lution and moved its adoption — 

Whereas: We the people of the town of Vernon and the city 
of Rockville have learned with great concern of the possibility 7 
that the J. P. Stevens & Sons Company is considering closing its 
Rockville Mills, known as the Hockanum Mills, and 

Whereas: The Hockanum Mills have for many years been 
Rockville's and Vernon's outstanding industry with both the city 
and town growing around the mills, and 


Whereas: The employment, the happiness and the future wel- 
fare of great numbers of families here would be upset if such ac- 
tion was taken, We, representative citizens of the Town of Vernon, 
at a special town meeting Tuesday night, February 27, 1951, go on 
record expressing the high regard that the Hockanum Mills are 
held by the people of Rockville and the high esteem in which the 
Stevens Company is held, and we trust that your concern will 
continue to remain as our leading industry for many years to come. 
It would be equally a loss to the Company as well as to Rock- 
ville and Vernon if the Stevens Company should close its local 
mills, for these mills in addition to being a very valuable asset to 
the city and town, are also an asset to the Company because of 
the high grade workers who are experienced in producing mer- 
chandise of the highest grade, merchandise which has given Rock- 
ville a nation-wide reputation. 

Vincent Jordan seconded and it was so voted. 
April 17, 1951 — Special Town Meeting 

Mr. John Sweeney presented the following resolution and 
moved its adoption: — 

Be it resolved that we, the legal voters of the town of Vernon, 
in town meeting assembled this 17th day of April, 1951, hereby 
authorize the appropriation of $1500 as recommended by the Board 
of Finance, for the purpose of encouraging industrial development 
within the entire geographical limits of the Town of Vernon. 

Motion seconded by Robert Murphy. 

June 19, 1951 — Special Meeting 

Mr. Marcham presented the following resolution: — 

Resolved that the State Building Code as compiled by the 
Connecticut State Housing Authority be and the same is hereby 
adopted for the Town of Vernon. Charles Heintz moved. Stephen 
Von Euw seconded. 

March 4, 1952 

Robert Marcham motioned to have the Statutory Revaluation 
made by professional appraisers. 

Voted that the sum of $11,900 be appropriated for Vernon 
School and $8,000 be appropriated for expenses for the Board of 

To appropriate the sum of $27,000 for teachers' salary in- 
creases for 1951-1952. , 



Title Page 

The Visicon of Samuel Grant 61 

Facsimile of Original Deed 66 

Lake Mishenipset and the Cascades 68 

The Attraction of the. Tankeroosan 74 

Blast Furnace and Iron Foundry 82 

The Rock Mill 82 

Warburton's Mill 87 

Talcottville Mills 90 

The Frank Mill 91 

The American Mill 92 

The Paper Mill 93 

The Springville Manufacturing Co 94 

The Hockanum 96 

The New England Mill 96 

John Brown 99 

The Leeds Mill 100 

The Early Envelope Company 101 

The James J. Regan Company 104 

The Story of the Kingfisher 106 

The Manufacture of Silk 107 

Samuel Fitch and Son Company 109 

The Minterburn Mills Company 112 

The Saxony Mills 112 

New Industries 113 

Building a Railroad 116 

The Wheels of Industry in 1871 121 

Manufacturing Achivements at Home and Abroad 122 

The Union Hall of Jabez Sears 125 

Cyrus White's Opera House 127 

The Henry Opera House 129 

A Few Prices in the Sixties 131 



Title Page 

Facsimile of Original Deed 59 

Homes of Elnathan and Ozias Grant 60 

Lake Meshinipset 67 

Snipsic Dam 70 

Excursion Steamer 72 

Old Saw and Grist Mill 74 

Peter Dobson 76 

Home of Delano Abbot 78 

The "Twin" Mills 80 

Francis McLean 83 

The Old Stone Mill 84 

The Rock Mill 86 

War-burtons Mills 87 

Warburton's Inn 89 

The American Mill 92 

The Springville Mill 94 

Kellogg Lawn 97 

John Brown 98 

United States Envelope Factory 103 

The "Kingfisher" Company 105 

Old Skating Rink 108 

Samuel Fitch and Sons Company 109 

The Minterburn Mills Ill 

American Dyeing Corporation 113 

First Engine on Rockville Branch 116 

Union Hall of Jabez Sears 124 

Cyrus White's Opera House 126 

The Henry Opera House 129 









When the eighteenth century was yet in its teens, the Town 
of Bolton had become a flourishing center of population and spec- 
ulation. A group of enterprising inhabitants desired to construct 
through the center of the settlement on the familiar ridge a com- 
mon, but in promulgating the project, they discovered that Cap- 
tain Bull's farm, owned by a non-resident, Samuel Grant of Wind- 
sor, might prove a barrier to their contemplated plan. His home 
and his interests were not in Bolton but in Windsor, Connecticut. 
Whispering their misgivings to each other these perturbed resi- 
dents approached Samuel Grant in the faint hope of inducing him 
to exchange his farm in Bolton for 500 acres at the extreme north 
end of the town, which included Rockville and its excellent water 
power. It was the year 1726! 

To their astonishment, Samuel Grant envisaged in the propo- 
sition a bright future, and with complete confidence in his own 
rugged instinct, immediatelv mounted his best horse, rode hastilv 
from Windsor, crossed the Hockanum stream, clambered over 
rocks and through dense thickets until he reached the outlet of 
Shenipset pond, and there prospected in traditional Yankee fashion. 

Then with an eagerness as fresh and invigorating as the north- 
ern air, Samuel Grant rode to Bolton for a conference with the pro- 
prietors, and without much formalitv exchanged his six hundred 
acres ( those who knew were certain it did not measure a foot more 
than one hundred acres ) for five hundred acres or more of the land 
in the north end of the township. The transaction was consum- 
mated with accelerated speed bv the proprietors, for thev regarded 
the land on Shenipset outlet as almost worthless. On the other 
hand, Samuel Grant viewed with evident pride his five hundred 
acres of primitive land, which todav is the fertile and promising 
city of Rockville in the town of Vernon. 

W T ith restless feet and a questing mind, the pioneer packed 
his saddlebags on the Sabbath after sunset ( not to offend the 
strict Sabbath laws), waved goodbve to his kinsfolk on Monday 
morning to possess his pristine home in the wilderness. He raised 
his hat in gratitude when he reached a glen at the corner of Union 
Street and Grant Street, and there working; sturdily and unceasing- 
lv with his narrow but effective pioneer's axe he erected in the 
course of a few months a comfortable loghouse, 20 x 15 feet, con- 



sisting of one room and an attic. This was destroyed by fire, but 
a little red one-story building was erected to replace the log cabin 
and was moved south of the Keeney fence to make room for the 
present house on the corner of Union and West Streets, and occu- 
pied by Nathaniel R. Grant and family. 

That was the beginning of civilization in the western part of 
Rockville in the year 1726 — Behold! An adventurer of high cour- 
age; a lonely hut of pine and hemlock, and never the cry ot a child 
in it; a pathway cut through a jungle of underbrush; a territory as 
bleak as a prairie after dark; a tributary of the Shenipset passing 
near by on its undiscouraged way to the sea; and a few wider trails 
leading to Hartford, Windsor, Tolland and Bolton. That was all! 

Mark the contrast! The town of Vernon with an area of 11,758 
acres had a population in 1950 of town 10,115; city 8,016, and a 
city Grand List of $10,703,942. 

Samuel Grant was a descendant of Matthew Grant, who was 
born in England on October 27, 1601, and died in Windsor, Con- 
necticut, December 16, 1681. Dr. Henry R. Stiles in his "History 
of Ancient Windsor" informs us that "few men filled so large a 
place in the early history of that town as honest Matthew Grant." 

The maker of history in these hills was born at Windsor, Con- 
necticut, in 1691 and died in the same town in 1751. He had a 
family of six sons, only one of whom tarried in Rockville long 
enough to acquire a sense of belonging. Ozias was born at East 
Windsor in 1733, came here in 1761, ten years after his father's 
death, and built a frame house on land adjoining the old log cabin 
in the year 1782. He became a farmer and built grist and saw 
mills near the site on which the Saxony mill stood until quite re- 
cently. That was the first harnessing of the power of the cataracts 
of the Hockanum River. 

One spring morning, however, when Ozias was enjoying the 
work in his field, as bright and eager as the wild daisies about him, 
he was abruptly pressed into the service of the English army, took 
part in the Quebec Campaign, and marched on the Lexington 
Alarm. He resumed farming on his return. 

His colorful and unconventional personality attracted the at- 
tention of the small community. From an oral rather than a writ- 
ten tradition we learn that he had been a miller by trade, and 
usually wore the white linen cap of those days. 

He was remarkable for his simple and quaint manners, perfect 
health, and unusual stature, "whose foot made a great track in the 


sand." He lived to the age of four score and ten years, and was 
laid to rest in the ancient burying ground at Vernon in 1823. 

Ozias Grant had a family of thirteen children: Elnathan, Abiel 
(who was fatally injured in a Rockville mill), Wareham, Aurelia, 
Augustus, Aruma, Teruiah, Elijah, Elisha, Francis, Lorana, Anna, 
and Elvira. 

Only one of these sons of Ozias, Elnathan, contributes interest 
to our historical sketch. He was born in Vernon, August 31, 1761, 
and died in Tolland on August 31, 1849, the last survivor of the 
Revolutionary War in Tolland County. It is recorded of Elnathan 
f hat one night he was put on picket duty after he had been de- 
prived of sleep for two or three nights, and was discovered fast 
asleep by one of the officers. He was hurriedly taken to the guard- 
house and locked up. The next day he was charged with the grave 
offense of sleeping while on duty, and sentenced to be shot. Later 
in the day some of the officers heard of his desperate predicament 
and, moved with pity, common to men in uniform, interceded in 
his behalf, pleading his youthfulness and previous good character 
as a soldier. 

After a long consultation it was officially decided to revoke 
the sentence and give him another chance. He was ecstatically 
pleased, and the chastening experience remained etched upon his 
memory. Elnathan owned "Covenant" in the Vernon Church, and 
was known as "a simple-hearted, pure-minded, honest, Christian 
man." The Elnathan Grant homestead, built in 1782, still stands, 
No. 102 Union Street. It is known as the Bailey House, and is 
owned and occupied by Mrs. Clyde Davis. Bailey Lane, which 
joins Union Street and Prospect Street, belongs to the same tradi- 

Harlow Kingsbury Grant, a son of Francis Grant, born in Rock- 
ville on February 5, 1809, is remembered by few. He lived in a 
house that stood near the site of the ancient log cabin. He attended 
the little Grant School, continuing; his education in the Vernon 
High School, where he became noted for his fine penmanship. As 
an incident in his school career, a composition composed and writ- 
ten by him on the temperance question was so convincing that a 
teacher, T. L. Wright, of East Hampton, Massachusetts, found it 
necessary to reply to it. 

And a son of Harlow Kingsburv Grant, Nathaniel Root Grant, 
grandfather of Harlow Grant and father of Frank Grant, had an 
important role in the early days. Born in 1836, he resided on the 


old Grant estate, owning thirty -five acres of the original 500 acres. 
He was a milk peddler, using in his business a pair of oxen. He 
constructed a sugar mill on the Grant estate, opposite the Maple 
Street School. Here he raised sorghum, and the process of making 
molasses syrup in the open with horses turning the vat in circular 
movement was eagerly watched by children on the way to and 
from school. Men and women in Rockville who have passed the 
eightieth milestone distinctly remember the delicious "lollypop" 
stalks given to the youngsters. The waste was sold for fertilizer. 

The operation of making sorghum syrup at the factory on 
West Street is of interest. The juice was extracted from the cane 
by machinery and evaporation. The cane was very easily grown, 
and ordinarily yielded about 200 gallons of syrup to the acre. 
Farmers brought their cane to the mill. 

Nathaniel introduced progressive methods in his farming, and 
tried successfully experiments in the raising of tobacco. He was 
a public-spirited man and for several years served the town as select- 
man and then for several years as Superintendent of Public Streets. 
While in that office, however, he was smartly spanked by public 
opinion when in February, 1898, he was actually arrested and 
convicted for violation of a city ordinance in not keeping the mid- 
dle road of the tripled terraces in proper condition to insure public 
safety. Attorney Tingier issued the warrant, and superintendent 
Nathaniel Root Grant had to pay the costs, $11.41. The city later 
apologetically refunded the costs. 

Frank Grant, son of Harlow Kingsbury Grant, was born in 
1839 in Rushford, New York, but came to Rockville in 1849. When 
a boy he attended school on West Street. He served Chauncy 
Hibbard as clerk for several years; was later employed by Joseph 
Selden, mill owner and merchant; in 1862, he was secretary and 
treasurer of Leeds Mill; conducted a business in painters' and build- 
ers' supplies on East Main Street for thirty years; was director and 
vice-president of Rockville National Bank for forty-one years. In 
1888 he built the elegant house on Union Street now owned and 
occupied by Dr. Roy Ferguson. For nine years he served in the 
State Militia. He was the first treasurer of the City of Rockville 
in 1889. 

At the turn of the nineteenth century, the west district of 
Rockville began to grow. The actual number of families living 
there was thirteen, of which number six were Grants. Here the 
first schoolhouse in the West District was built, known as the 


Grant School, a little one-story building, which after a few years 
was converted into a soap factory, and later into a common barn. 
A few yards south was a wooden building — the Saxony — operated 
later by the Hockanum Company. Peter Wendheiser, who con- 
ducted a factory for making all kinds of furniture (everything in 
those days was made by hand) in 1867 built a commodious struc- 
ture, nearly opposite the head of Windsor. The building was com- 
pletely destroyed by fire. 

Next to Wendheiser's store was that of F. B. Little, dealer in 
dry goods, groceries, crockery, boots and shoes. 


The original deed granted to Samuel Grant by the "Agents of 
the Proprietors of Bolton Lands," is now in the possession of Na- 
thaniel R. Grant, a copy of which is given below: 

Olcott, Francis Smith and John Bissell all of Bolton, in the County of 
Hartford and Colony of Connecticut, Agents to the Proprietors of ye 
common and undivided land in Bolton, for and in consideration that 
Samuel Grant, of Windsor is obliged to convey and confirm to us, the 
said Timothy Olcott, Francis Smith and John Bissell, as agents of the 
proprietors aforesaid, all that right and title which said Grant now 
hath to a certain farm in Bolton formally granted to Thomas Bull and 
surveyed to him by one James Steel. In consideration aforesaid, we, 
the said Timothy Olcott, Francis Smith and John Bissell, for ourselves 
and in behalf of the proprietors aforesaid, to give, grant, bargain, 
convey and confirm unto the said Samuel Grant, and to his heirs and 
assigns forever, one tract or parcel of land lying in the township of 
Bolton, at the north end of said township, in quantity five hundred 
acres, bounded north on Windsor, commonly called Windsor Equivalent 
lands, the whole breadth of the town of Bolton, except one piece in the 
northeast corner of said Bolton, under the improvement of one Whiple, 
of about thirty acres; and said tract of land is to run soe far south from 
the north end of said Bolton, the whole breadth of said town, except the 
corner aforesaid, as will make five hundred acres of land; and abuts 
north on Windsor Equivalent land, east on Tolland, except the aforesaid 
corner on Whiples, south on the proprietors of Bolton lands, west on 
Windsor, to have and to hold said five hundred acres of land, as above 
described, with all the privileges and appurtenances thereto belonging, 
to him the said Samuel Grant, his heirs and assigns, forever. And we, 
the said Timothy Olcott, Francis Smith and John Bissell, for ourselves 
and in behalf of the proprietors aforesaid, do by these presents cove- 
nant, promise and grant, to and with the said Samuel Grant, his heirs 
and assigns, that we will defend the above bargained premises to said 
Grant and his heirs, against the lawful claims and demands of all and 
every person whatsoever; in confirmation whereof we doe hereto sett 
our hands and seals this 29th day of April, A.D., 1726. (Signed) 


Hartford, April the 25th, 1726. 
John Bissell, Timothy Olcott and Francis Smith, the subscrib- 
ers to the above written deed, voluntarily appeared and acknowl- 
edged the same to their voluntary act and deed, before me, 

OZIAS PITKIN, Justice of the peace. 
Rec'd to be Recorded, April 30th, A.D., 1726, and Recorded the 
same at Large in Bolton Records, page 85. 






The real source of Rockville's industrial growth and commer- 
cial development through two centuries may be traced to Lake 
Mishenipset, a gem of perfect beauty, unmatched by any other 
lake in New England. Without its water power, Rockville would 
have remained a mere gorge in the vibrant hills of Tolland. 

Snipsic is all that is left of its original mellifluous Indian name 
Mishenipset — Mishe — big; nips — pool — the big pool, and even that, 
in keeping with the American fondness of abbreviations, has been 
further decapitated, and the man in the street, that convenient re- 
pository of popular opinion, now affectionatelv calls it "Snip." 

This picturesque body of water, 2^4 miles long and one mile 
at its widest point, belongs to three towns — Tolland, Ellington, 
Vernon. The lake covers 553 acres, and the capacity of the full 
lake is 4,900,000,000 gallons. Its shores are indented with many 
little bays and coves, giving a pleasing irregularity of outline, 
while its surface is broken into tiny waves and ripples as the breeze 
passes over it. How enchanting to watch the playful rush of these 
rivulets, as they leap into the little coves, seemingly desirous of 
reaching the green hillsides, climbing the rocks, and disobeying 
the laws of Mother Nature! But they have a nobler errand — to 
carry over the falls the life-giving stream to thousands of toilers 
dependent on this never-failing supply. 

Time out of mind, the Snipsic descends over ledge and rocky 
heights, falling, falling, falling in lovely cascades, emptying its 
treasure into the chalice of rockv earth, and triumphantlv pursuing 
its winding way along the Hockanum, (Indian hocquaun — mean- 
ing hook-shaped or crooked river) to the mother of waters. 

"Cotton Wool and Iron," a fabrics periodical, took time out to 
visit Rockville Mills in the vear 1884, and on March 21 of that vear 

The water is first used at the Rockville warp mills 
with a fall of 16 feet. From this fall it empties into Paper 
Mill Pond, and from which it runs the silk mill of Belding 
Brothers with a fall of 33 feet. It next runs the Stockinet 
Mill, with a fall of 16 feet, and then empties into a very 
small pond that supplies the American Mills with 15 sets 
of machinery and a fall of 40 feet. The above 105 feet 
fall is within a distance of less than 300 feet. 



Next comes the Rock Company's Mill with its 27 feet 
fall and nearly as many sets of machinery. Next comes 
the Leeds Mill with its 22 feet fall owned by the Rock 
Company and in their yard. After this, and close by, is 
the White Manufacturing Company's Gingham Mill with 
its fall of 20 feet. Next and close by is the New England 
Company's mill of 9 or 10 sets of machinery on fancy 
cassimeres, which is run by a fall of 20 feet. White, Cor- 
bin and Company large envelope works comes next with 
a fall of 19 feet. Close by is the Springville satinet mill 
with a fall of 18 feet. The Hockanum Mill comes next 
with its 18 feet fall, and the Saxony close by, owned by 
the same company, with its 10 feet fall. There is still an- 
other mill down on the plain devoted to woolen goods, 
and containing 8 sets of machinery, with a fall of 24 feet. 

The close proximity of some of these mills to each 
other is remarkable, accounting for the great fall. It will 
be found by figuring up the different falls that they 
amount to 283 feet. 

Mathias Spiess, of Manchester, Connecticut, a student of Indian 
lore for many years, informs us that the boundaries of three Indian 
territories met at Snipsic Pond: on the north and to the east was 
the Hipmuck country; on the west that of the Podunks; and to 
the south the Mohegan country. It was the custom of bands of 
Indians to journey many miles from their homes on hunting expe- 
ditions and make encampment near a lake or stream for months at 
a time. However, no full tribe was probably ever located in this 
vicinity, and when Samuel Grant began his adventure here in 
1726, a few Indians only had erected their wigwams near Sucker 
Brook and had pitched their hamlets on the eastern slope of the 
pond, where a genial soil furnished the juicy roasting ears, and the 
waters provided an abundance of easily-caught fish. 

Here for several years stood the hut of" Aunt" Sarah and Isaac 
Rogers. A pious, good-natured half breed, Sarah found favor 
among the few white inhabitants, who always generously filled 
her basket with tokens of kindness, when she made her customary 
tour of the villages. She used to bring small bags of sand and 
sell them to the women for sanding floors. Incidentallv, there are 
several references in the old Bolton records to sand as a useful 
commodity. Sarah also brought grapes and other kinds of fruit 
for sale. 




A tract commending her excellencies was published by the 
American Missionary Society of Boston, Massachusetts, and though 
it perhaps exaggerated her virtues, it portrayed evidences of her 
good heart. A copy of the tract may be seen among the exhibits 
of the Ellington Public Library under the title — "Poor Sarah, or 
the Indian Woman." She lived on the eastern slope of Snipsic 
Lake, near Sucker Brook, and died in 1817. Her husband Isaac 
did not possess her lovely qualities. He was too fond of fire 
water. It was usual for him to walk along Market Street at an 
angle and unusual for him to remain perpendicular for any dis- 
tance. One day he strolled off in his canoe on the lake and never 

We do get another glimpse of Indians through reminiscences 
of George M. Brown, who recalls that in the year 1844, before the 
Leader Office was built, there was a large pond called the Rock 
Pond, where there were fine fishing and skating. Writes Brown: 

"I have seen fine pickerel caught out of the pond by 
an Indian by the name of Ned Dolphin. He would fish 
from his boat with live bait and skitter it on top of the 


water. He claimed that that was the way Indians fished 
for pickerel. A good hunter and fisherman, he could 
sound the warhoop and the Hoo Hoo, and would make all 
the woods around ring." 

In the year 1834, the Rock Company purchased the mill prop- 
erty and all water power from the Payne family, built a rough 
stone and gravel dam, and put in a flume at a total expense of 
$548.79, of which sum $355 was for land flowage, leaving the ac- 
tual cost of the dam $193.79. 

In 1847, the owners of water power on the stream formed an 
association, purchased lands skirting the shores, and erected a sub- 
stantial stone dam 13% feet high, thus raising the pond an addi- 
tional ten feet. The Aqueduct Company was first organized in 
1847, with a capital of $7,000 and a board of officers consisting of 
George Kellogg, president, and Phineas Talcott, secretary and 
treasurer. Cement pipes were laid through all the principal streets 
and connected with all the mills. A reorganization of the company 
took place under a charter granted by the Legislature in the year 
1866 with J. J. Robinson as president and J. C. Hammond, Jr., as 
secretary and treasurer, with an authorized capital of $40,000. 

For some considerable time the owners of mills in Rockville 
and manufacturers on the Hockanum River in Manchester and 
East Hartford discussed the desirability of raising the dam again. 
Mr. David Hale, of New York, having purchased the Paper Mill 
property, took a lively interest in the suggested improvements. His 
proposal of a dam seventeen feet higher than the old one was at 
first treated as visionary, but its construction resulted in a change 
of the water level from six feet, which was originally suggested, to 
ten feet. 

By the year 1880, Snipsic Lake became a popular summer re- 
sort. Half way up the lake is nature's best production — a 15 acre 
well-shaded grove of chestnuts, oak, pine, maple and birches. At 
this grove, all was activity in the summer season, beginning on 
Memorial Day. A big dancing pavilion, refreshment room, shoot- 
ing gallery, bowling alley, automatic swings, the "teeters" and en- 
tertainments of the finest order were provided for visitors from all 
parts of the State. 

For a number of years the proprietors of the grove, L. E. 
Thompson and his son, A. T. Thompson, improved the grove. They 
introduced steamers ranging in size from 21 feet to 65 feet in 
length, painted inside and out to look as gay as peacocks, and a 



pleasure steamer 150 feet long, with a capacity of 200 passengers. 
There were moonlight dances on Friday nights. The large steamer 
left the lower landing every half-hour for the grove. The fare 
was five cents. Music was supplied by Shrier's orchestra. Tickets, 
including passage on the steamer, were one dollar. 

Hundreds of people witnessed the sailing and rowing races. 
Names of boats for the yacht races were Carrie, Josie, G.G.B.M., 
Potato Bug, Ya Hoo and Yankee Doodle. The course was from 
Pine Island around two buoys placed at the northeast and north- 
west corners of the pond. For the sailing and rowing races — 
Hoo Hoo, Dido, Little Dinkey, Black Friday, Five R's and What I 
Know, were popular names. 

Captain Thompson had all steam on in the kitchen at Snipsic 
Grove, amid the odor of fish, clams, bluefish, everything from 
chowder to melon. The dining room seated 100, with a large room 
supplied with pool tables, strength testers, weighing machines and 
a large pavilion, ice cream, photograph room, shooting galleries, 
merry-go-round, and swings, and a fine orchestra added to the 

The winters were quite cold, and the ice on the lake was of 
sufficient depth to permit horse-racing attached to sleighs. Sports 
competitions attracted large crowds. Bert Ransom of tambourine 
repute and Frank Watts were prominent among the clever ice 
figure skaters of that era. 

In 1886 a new dam was made 20 1 / o feet high and the enlarge- 
ment added 85 acres to the size of the pond. The whole expense 



of this job was $35,000, making the outlay up to this time includ- 
ing the earlier improvements $50,000. In 1871 the provision against 
any drought that might arise was undertaken and completed. This 
added three feet more to the top of the pond, making the dam 
26' 6" high, the present height. A wall five to twenty feet high 
on top of the ledge on the upper side of the dam to prevent an 
overflow when the pond is full to the brim or nearly so cost $15,000 
which makes the entire investment of the Water Company $65,000. 
The granite dam is 63 feet, 6 inches across, a fine piece of en- 
gineering work. 

The building of the Snipsic dam is a story of commendable 
enterprise, skilful forethought, hard work, brain and muscle. 

On July 23, 1908, the State Board of Health gave an exhaustive 
report on the source of water supply for Rockville. Snipsic's water 
shed had on it 467 persons, 422 cattle, 116 horses, 77 pigs and 30 
sheep. The committee found that the water supply was in danger 
of becoming a serious menace to health and recommended that the 
city look for another source of supply. 

In 1913 the Water and Aqueduct Company did all they could 
to prevent any possible pollution of the water, but the health of 
the people had first consideration and the grove was abandoned 
as a picnic resort. The coming of the trolley brought to the lake 
people from out of town, and the popularity of the resort was re- 
garded as a menace to the health of the city. So the Aqueduct 
Company bought up the grove property and it was closed. Bath- 
ing in the lake was prohibited on Thursday, April 26, 1894. 


The early settlers of the town found opportunities for manu- 
facturing enterprise in the water power furnished by rapid and 
constant streams. Shenipset rushed out of its placid lake in twin 
cataracts: one, the Hockanum poured down the wild and rocky 
glen where its channel lay amid huge boulders and tangled under- 
brush; while the Tankeroosen, tumbling southward, also offered 
a challenge to daring manufacturers. 

The common wants of a new settlement naturally suggested 
mills for making lumber and meal, to supply immediate demands. 
Grist mills were of prime importance: wheat, rye and barley must 
be converted into flour for daily use. It is, however, now impos- 
sible to determine the date at which grist and saw mills were first 
erected in town but it is known that the Grants built a grist mill 
on the site of the Snipsic mills at an early date, and it is also 
believed that they built a saw mill much earlier, a little below the 

The first mill erected was a saw mill built at Valley Falls in 





1740. In that year Thomas Johns started such a mill on the little 
trout stream that comes down the gorge between the hills from the 
south, and discharges itself into the Tankeroosen. This mill was 
altered in the year 1790 to an oil mill for the manufacture of lin- 
seed oil from flax seed, and was owned and operated by Joseph 
and Samuel Carver, and Zekiel Olcott of Bolton. Woolcarding and 
spinning machinery was also operated by the same power, and was 
owned by David Walker, Norman W. and Solomon Carpenter at 
the place later known as Centerville. In 1774, Mr. W. Woolcott, 
of East Windsor, built a saw mill, which in 1789 he sold to Stephen 
King, whose heirs in 1809 sold to Peter Dobson, James Chapman 
and Chester King. 

Mr. Dobson came first to Suffield, Connecticut, in 1808, but 
was attracted to Vernon, where in 1809 he purchased property 
located on the Tankeroosen River in a ravine between the Talcott- 
ville bridge and the Vernon bridge. Thus, in the year Abraham 
Lincoln was born, the manufacture of cotton goods began. 

Peter Dobson was a remarkable man. He was born in Black- 
burn, England, and emigrated to America when he was 25 years 
old. Settling in Vernon, his house was the third from the corner on 
Route 30, near Dobsonville school house, he was the first to show 
a manufacturing interest there. He set up the first cotton spin- 
ning machinery in the town. A genius in manufacturing, he had 
had great difficulty in getting out of England. There were strin- 
gent laws in those days, preventing skilled manufacturers from 
emigrating. Mr. Dobson was carefully hidden in a hogshead which 
was rolled on board ship. It was bored full of gimlet holes to 
give him fresh air. After the ship had sailed out of the harbor, 
he was released from his unpleasant and uncomfortable surround- 
ings. It was this kind of ingenuity that marked his New England 

While Peter Dobson was constructing a building in the ravine, 
he began work with Samuel Slater in Warburton's mill (later Tal- 
cott Brothers and now Aldon Mills.) These two men were among 
the first to operate cotton mills in America. Indeed, Samuel 
Slater is known as the father of cotton manufacturing. While at 
Warburton's mill, Mr. Dobson spun cotton v ai *n from raw stock 
carded by Alexander McLean in one of the Warburton mill build- 
ings. The yarn was given out to neighborhood housewives who, 
using cumbersome looms, wove the cloth by hand under Peter 
Dobson's guidance. He was the first manufacturer to create his 





own designs, and, under his tutelage, a variety of cloth, including 
shirtings, sheetings, tickings, diaper cloth, checks, and ginghams 
was created. 

While excavating for the foundation of his cotton factory he 
was greatly intrigued by the abraded condition of many of the 
boulders. This unusual condition Mr. Dobson attributed to their 
being suspended and carried in ice over rocks and earth and under 
water. He addressed a letter to the London Geological Society 
in which he advanced the theory that the boulders of New Eng- 
land had been abraded bv moving glaciers in some pre-historic 

In an Anniversary address before the London Geological So- 
ciety in 1842, Sir Robert Murchison gave credit to Peter Dobson as 
"the original author of the best glacial theory." He said: 

"His clear, short and modest statement entitled, 'Re- 
marks on Boulders' contains the essence of the modified 
glacial theory at which we have arrived after so much 
debate. His calculations were based on boulders wei^h- 
ing up to 15 tons, dug out of clay and gravel, when making 
the foundations for his own cotton factorv in Vernon." 

It is remarkable that this Vernon manufacturer should gain such 
renown for the advancement of such an important geological theory. 

The Ravine Mills, a title as casual as a timetable, were readv 
by 1811, and with the help of a common blacksmith and a joiner, 
Peter Dobson had two mules of 192 spindles each to put into 
operation for weaving. He set up and ran a cold indigo vat pro- 
ducing a fast blue color for checks and stripes. It was not un- 
common for whole families to be outfitted in the same blue and 
white cloth. This mill made pants, vests, coats and overcoats for 
men and boys, and coats and sometimes dresses for the women. 

In religion Peter Dobson was a free thinker, in politics a demo- 
crat, in social relations an estimable citizen of the strictest integrity 
and the highest sense of honor. His mind was like a reservoir, wel- 
coming the rain, ever eager to serve a larger purpose. He died 
at his home in Vernon at the age of 93 vears, and Dobsonville is 
named after him. 


In this same period, a man named Delano Abbott, a farmer, 
who lived in a house situated next to the old Vernon Railroad 



* •** * V ,' 



Depot and now torn down, purchased in Nichols Store near the 
ferry in East Hartford a wool jacket. Obtaining more of the ma- 
terial, he took a scrap of the cloth to Peter Dobson. Unravelling 
it, they studied its design and weave. Delano Abbott persuaded 
Peter Dobson to make a billey for roping and a jenney for spin- 
ning and other preparations for the manufacture of this light- 
weight wool cloth. This led to the making of satinet, the begin- 
ning of woolen manufacture in the town of Vernon, in the year 

Delano Abbott operated this simple machinery in his home, 
introducing the making of satinet in the United States. The busi- 
ness became somewhat encouraging, and being a little straitened 
for room in the house, as well as to secure water power, the ma- 
chinery was removed to a shop erected on a little brook running 
at the rear of the dwelling later owned by Lewis A. Corbin. About 
this time Doctor Scottoway Hinckley also engaged in manufactur- 
ing the same kind of goods. These, without doubt, were the initial 
steps in the manufacture of satinets — leading to the distinctive busi- 
ness of Rockville's woolen manufacturing. 

Ultimately Colonel McLean and Doctor Hinckley became as- 
sociated with Mr. Abbott in the business. This was the day of 
small things, no doubt, and this was a small enterprise, but it led 
directly to the permanent establishment of woolen manufacturing 
in Rockville. 

Eighteen-hundred-and-fourteen witnessed the introduction of 
the manufacture of satinets in Rockville. Ebenezer Nash, a nephew 
of Delano Abbott, who during the war manufactured wood screws 
at a place near Thompsons' Wadding Mill, found at the close of 
the war of 1812 that his occupation was gone, and stimulated by 
the success of his uncle Abbott, also decided to set about the man- 
ufacture of satinets. Choosing his location in the north part of 
the town of Vernon, which was then a wild glen of rocks and 
decayed hemlocks and underbrush, he erected a small building on 
the site of the old Hockanum mill. Here he started two sets of 
cards, some spinning machinery and a few hand looms. Some 
machinery was also placed and operated in an ell part of his 
dwelling house, which is now standing, and well known by old 
residents as the Simon Tracy house. It is the second house west 
of the bridge on Windsor Avenue, on the north side of the street. 
Mr. Nash lost his mill by fire. A new companv was formed, con- 
sisting of Ebenezer Nash, John Mather and Lebbeus B. Tinker, 




who built the one, and afterwards the other of the so-called "twin 
mills." One of these mills still stands. This establishment con- 
stituted the total of woolen manufacturing in Rockville until the 
year 1821. 

The Ravine mills continued to manufacture woolen goods, 
first under its founder, then under the leadership of Peter Dobson 
and his son John. It was later purchased by Hilliard and Smith 
who made flock shoddy and wool extracts. In 1882 Jesse Smith 
assumed the business and in 1886 Hilliard & Company took pos- 
session. It eventually came into the hands of Miner White. On 
October 12, 1909, very early in the morning, the Ravine Mills 
burned and were never rebuilt. 

Peter Dobson and his son built another mill next to the bridge 
in Vernon. This burned, but they rebuilt it in 1873. This mill 
was used for making cotton warp and sewing twine, and later for 
cheesecloth and tobacco cloth for shade-grown tobacco. A num- 
ber of people were employed there, and what is now Campbell 
Avenue was then a footpath through the woods used by employees 
going to and from work. The mill passed into John Dobson's 
hands and later into the ownership of Rienzi Parker and John 
Parker, who later sold it to Paul Ackerly. During Mr. Ackerly's 
ownership a large brick section was added to the building. In 


addition to its manufacturing uses, this brick section was often the 
scene of a Community Christmas party or a children's party given 
through the courtesy of Mr. Ackerly. in the late 1920s Mr. Ack- 
erly removed his business to Georgia, and the property passed 
into the hands of Talcott Brothers, For a long time the buildings 
lay idle, and then in the late 1930's they were torn down. 

Another mill which later became a branch of these mills was 
the one known as the Phoenix mill on what is known now as 
Phoenix Street, opposite the end of Maple Street, Vernon. It was 
established by Stephen Fuller. Discovering a beaver dam there, 
he decided to make use of it as water power. Colonel McLean 
purchased it in 1808, and built a saw mill there. He also moved 
a grist mill from its location near Frederick Walker's mill, some- 
where in the Valley Falls District, and an oil mill from East Hart- 
ford. Later this last-mentioned building was removed to Rock- 
ville and used by the New England Company as a wheel house. 
Colonel Francis McLean sold the mills to William Baker and 
Harvey W. Miner, and in 1836 they sold to a company known as 
the Phoenix Mills Company who built the largest of the buildings 
and manufactured cotton warp. In 1879, the business was pur- 
chased by James Campbell and Rienzi Parker, who at that time 
also ran the Dobsonville mill. The Phoenix Mills continued to be 
a branch of the Dobsonville mills. In the latter years of Mr. Ack- 
erly 's ownership, the Phoenix Mills were used only as a storehouse, 
and in the late 1920's the buildings burned and were never rebuilt. 




A small mill on East Main Street, Rockville, where the Min- 
terburn Mill now stands, was built as early as the middle of the 
18th century. Here, too, was a blast furnace and iron foundry. 
There was nothing pretentious about the iron works, but we know 
that in conjunction with Phelps' furnace at Stafford Hollow, can- 
non balls were made during the Revolutionary War. Indeed, while 
George Washington prayed on his knees for victory at Valley Forge, 
strong and loyal citizens in these small factories answered his 
petitions with gun barrels and locks for musket guns carried by 
the Army. 

And the skill and competency of these workmen matched 
their patriotism. Because of unusual ability, a certain Mr. Foote 
became superintendent of the Springfield Armory in Massachusetts 
and a Mr. Nash was engaged in an equally important position at 
the arsenal at Harper's Ferry. 

Leonard Chapman, an early settler here, and a member of a 
large family of iron workers, has left on record the following 

"My brother Abrel was employed as an armorer at the 
old iron works in Rockville. I visited the works many 
times. There was a forge and a trip-hammer, which were 
used to weld scrap iron for gun barrels. There were a 
great many damaged barrels and bayonets among the 
scrap iron. At that time the barrels were taken to Spring- 
field to be bored and stocked." 


Francis McLean, born September 26, 1777, at Vernon, was the 
genius who built the first important mill in Rockville for the mak- 
ing of satinets. Having sufficiently matured his plans for a large 
factory in the spring of 1821, he purchased land of the Grant heirs 
and formed a partnership with George Kellogg, Allen Kellogg and 
Ralph Talcott. All energies were bent to the task of building with 
their own teams and their own brawny arms a solid stone dam 
across the stream which would stand as an enduring structure of 
strength, if not of beauty, and they won their way toilsomely with 
heavy oxen and clumsy carts. 





The canal called in those days "McLean's Ditch" was dug, the 
wheel pit located and the power determined by simple but accu- 
rate processes. There were no mechanical miracles then. Spirit 
levels and delicate precise mathematical instruments were not yet 
in use, but a marvelous ingenuity supplied their place. A level 
was improvised by taking a piece of scantling six or eight feet in 
length, with one straight edge and grooved to hold water. And 
with this level on the shoulder and a bottle of water in the pocket 
plus a skill uncanny and a tenacity incredible, Francis McLean 
made his wheel. 

In the meantime timber was cut from the adjacent hillsides, 
and the building was erected without delay, 80 feet long and 30 
feet wide, and three stories high, which was regarded as a mam- 
moth building a century ago. 

Nature immediately challenged the stability of the structure, 
for the night after the factory was raised there came a very de- 
structive storm — a cyclone — which extended from northern Mas- 
sachusetts down through Central Connecticut. The Rock factory 
stood the test and within a year three sets of woolen machinery 





were at work making satinets — blue and blue mixed, and black 
mixed. Condensers, jacks and power looms were unknown until 
1823, and even then were so imperfect that Win. T. Coggswell and 
David Beach, local carpenters, were able to improve upon them 
with a loom which was purchased by many mills. 

A brief chronicle penned by a native of Tolland, Dr. William 
A. Grover, living in the sunset of his life at San Francisco, described 
vividly this Rock Mill: 

"I well remember when Colonel Francis McLean 
commenced and built the factory called the Rock factory 
of Vernon, Tolland County, Connecticut, for the reason 
that my father had the contract for building the same. It 
was built of chestnut timber, hewed and framed at our 
house in Tolland, carried to what is now known as Rock- 
ville, and put together. It was an exceedingly plain build- 
ing, without any ornamentation whatever and painted red. 
It was an exceedingly lonely place, and there was not an- 
other building from Payne's mill to the Rock building in 
the vicinity except a few buildings for the accommodation 
of the laborers. It was the commencement of the great 
and beautiful city of Rockville, and Colonel McLean was 
looked upon as the enterprising pioneer of that now beau- 
tiful city. I have no means of giving the exact date of 
the building, but there was neither a mill nor the ground 
broken for one in the vicinity. For the sake of water 
power it was built in a deep ravine, and the picture of 
the rapid stream with its falls as it poured over the pre- 
cipitous rocks, the deep gorge surrounded on all sides by 
sunny hills, with the red mill in the center, has never been 
erased from my memory. There was a man bv the name 
of Phineas Talcott who used to come to my father's house 
on business relating to this mill. He might have been 
connected with the Colonel in this enterprise, but we al- 
ways regarded the Colonel as the pioneer and moving 
spirit of the whole matter." 

Pioneer Francis McLean was a versatile man. He had in- 
numerable facets of interest. He built the Frank Mill largely from 
the timbers of the First Church in Vernon; erected a paper mill 
and three houses; surveyed and laid out the road from the paper 
mill to Ellington; straightened the road from Ellington to Vernon; 
improved the roads from Vernon to the Coventry line, and from 




Dobson's factory, later Centerville, to Minor Preston's house. His 
favorite studies were arithmetic and surveying. He taught school 
at the age of 17, distinguished himself in military training, and was 
the father of 13 children. 

Full of energy, life and ambition, he remained in the harness 
until the age of 77. He did not shirk military duty and was but 
18 when he started in. As he tells it: 

"I was a soldier first, then was chosen corporal, then 
sergeant, then orderly sergeant, then ensign, then lieuten- 
ant, then captain, then major, and then colonel. I went 
too fast from one office to another for my own good. I 
was captain of a company eight years, was major two years, 
commanded a regiment, the seventh company as Colonel 
one year." 

In the year 1846, the Rock Company built a new mill for 
the manufacturing of cassimere, still continuing to run for a while 
the old mill, but it had nearly done its work — its shell indeed was 
sound, but its vital energies had well nigh given out, and conse- 
quently in 1851, it slowly and gracefully retired into obscurity, 
giving place to an extension of the more pretentious new mill. 




In Talcottville was begun one among the earliest manufac- 
turing enterprises of the country. "Warburton's mill," which com- 
menced in 1795, was widely known and celebrated all over this sec- 
tion of New England for its eagerly sought stocking yarns and 
thread. John Warburton was an Englishman, and came to America 
in 1792 from the same English town as Peter Dobson, Blackburn. 
The method by which he built his mill illustrates that he was un- 
afraid to work. 


He used what money he had in the building and machinery, 
expecting that the people would render him assistance in building 
the dam, but they, not believing that he would succeed, would not 
help him, and he was obliged to move the gravel necessary to 
complete it with a shovel and wheelbarrow. His next trouble was 
to obtain help. He lived in the mill because he was not able to 
rent a house, and to relieve his wife from the care of the babies 
and give her an opportunity to spin cotton, he built a large cradle 
with machinery for rocking it. This new way of caring for babies 
so interested the people of the neighborhood that many visited 
the mill to witness the operation of this new piece of equipment. 
John was a self-winding model of versatility. The yarn which he 
spun was in great demand. His sales yielded a large profit, and 
money was plentiful with him for the first time in his life. Two 
large brick Warburton houses still stand in Talcottville. The one 
on the east side of the river, conspicuous for its four chimneys, was 


built in 1810. and became the Warburton Inn, but was abandoned 
many rears ago. Warburton's son, John, built the second a few 
years later on the west side of the river. This was sold four years 
ago bv John Talcott, Jr., to Mr. and Mrs. Michael C. Sullivan, who 
have thoroughlv remodelled it. 

John Warburton was of a liberal and somewhat convivial dis- 
position, and was accustomed to dispense his free hospitalities in 
the most profuse manner, a hogshead of Jamaica rum being at one 
time kept on tap in an open shed by the roadside, free to all 
comers. This stvle of living, however, undermined his success as 
well as his health. 

In 1804, he had built a shop and started some wool carding 
machines on the lower privilege, and in 1809 he sold his entire mill 
propertv to Colonel Francis McLean, Lebbeus B. Tinker. Irad 
Fuller and Alexander McLean, who operated the works through 
the "War of 1812. when thev sold it to Thomas Bull of Hartford. 
Of him. X. O. Kellogg, Esq.. bought the lower privilege and wool 
carding works in 1817. and afterwards the upper privilege and mill 
in 1833 of Henrv Hudson of Hartford. Mr. Kellogg began to spin 
woolen varn and weave bv hand in 1819, and in 1822 introduced 
power looms. 

It has been difficult to unravel the mysteries of the Warbur- 
ton familv because there were at least two John Warburtons and 
at least three Mary Warburtons. The family relationships seem 
to be as follows. The John Warburton. who came from England 
in 1792 and settled in Vernon, was born in 1772. He apparentlv 
brought his mother with him, for a Man 7 Booth Warburton died 
in 1811, aged 72 vears. John married a Man' A. Warburton about 
the time of his arrival in this countrv. We have a record of the 
death of a Betsev Warburton, aged 4, daughter of John and Mary 
Warburton in 1797. To further complicate matters, thev had a 
son John (with no distinguishing middle initial!) who also married 
a Man- (Smith). Our first John died in 1810, and his wife Mary 
apparentlv went to St. Louis with her son John, and Man' Smith 
Warburton. returned to Hartford in 1833. This Man- A. War- 
burton died in Hartford in 1844. 

The name of Warburton is memorialized in a chapel building 
in Hartford. Connecticut. In 1865 Mrs. Mary Smith Warburton, 
wife of John Warburton, the son of John Warburton, the English- 
man who settled in Vernon, built, at a cost of $18,298, a chapel on 
Temple Street, on land purchased by the subscriptions of indi- 





vidual members of the First Church for $3,450. In 1873, an exten- 
sion of Warburton Chapel, a building designed for the use of the 
primary department of the church school, was made. 

Warburton Chapel is now St. Anthony's Mission and still stands 
on Temple Street. It shines in a dark place, and its beams guide 
many to useful careers. 


The upper mill of Talcott Brothers was built in 1834 and de- 
molished by the freshet October 4, 1869, and the lower mill was 
burned in the same year. Thereupon the two water privileges were 
consolidated and a new mill erected. 

The name of Talcott has long been a prominent one. The 
family all descended from John Talcott, who came from England. 
He came to Boston with others of Reverend Thomas Hooker's fam- 
ily. Joseph Talcott, one of the descendants of John Talcott, was 
chosen governor of Connecticut in 1725 and held that office for 
17 years. 

The village, known as Kelloggville in the earlv days having 
been purchased by Hon. N. O. Kellogg in 1856 for Horace W. and 
Charles Denison Talcott, is included in the town of Vernon. The 
appearance is always immaculate with mill, store, dwellings of 
puritanical whiteness. 

The manufacture of union cassimeres was carried on here for 
many years. A stock company was organized in 1856, with Talcott 
families and their heirs being the stockholders. The product was 
principally satinets up to 1875, when a change was made to union 
cassimeres. In 1907, a grade of fine woolens was added to the 
line. In 1882, H. G. Talcott became general manager, and M. H. 
Talcott became associate manager. John G. Talcott entered the 
firm in 1895 and C. Denison Talcott in 1903. 

The Talcotts first became interested in the mill, which had 
originally been owned by the Kellogg family, when Horace G. Tal- 
cott went to work there in 1856. He later induced his brother, 
the late C. Denison Talcott, to give up school teaching and join 
him in the manufacturing business. The Talcott Brothers eventu- 
ally bought the interest of Mr. Kellogg. 

During the Civil War the company manufactured blankets for 
the soldiers of the Northern Army. The village of Talcottville grew 
up around the mill. Following the deaths of the older Talcotts, 


the mill was managed by the present C. Denison Talcott and his 
cousin, the late John G. Talcott. The latter manufactured fine 
woolen goods and the business prospered until the depression of 

A few years ago C. Denison Talcott sold his interest in the 
village houses to John G. Talcott, Jr. 

The mills successfully operated for many years by the Talcott 
family were purchased in 1950 by the Nodevac Realty Corporation 
of Woonsocket, Rhode Island. (Nodevac spelled in reverse is 
Cavedon"), Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Cavedon being the principals with 
Sidney Silverstein as officers of the Aldon Spinning Mills Corpora- 
tion, and organized under the laws of the State of Connecticut on 
January 15, 1951, with the following comprising the Board of 
Directors : 

President — Gladys K. Cavedon, Manchester. 
Treasurer — Gladys K. Cavedon, Manchester. 
Secretary— Sidney Silverstein, Woonsocket, Rhode 
Island, with Carl W. Christianson, of Slatersville, 
Rhode Island, a member of the Board. 

The plant has since 1951 been operated by the textile companv 
registered with the Secretary of State as the Aldon Spinning Mills 
Corporation, occupying mill buildings, land and water power. The 
reported purchase price paid for the property is $150,000. 

Several major changes and improvements have been made by 
the Aldon Company since operations were started in 1951. 


Colonel McLean, having closed his connection with the Rock 
Mill, straightway went at another enterprise with characteristic 
energy and success. Taking with him Alonzo Bailey, who in 1823 
had come from Columbia, Connecticut, to Rockville, with his ward- 
robe under his arm, and who since that time had been the "blue 
dyer" at the Rock, organized a Company, and built the Frank Mill 
in 1831. The frame work of a portion of this mill was originally 
the frame of the Vernon Meeting House. The Colonel had an 
idea of a certain fitness in moral equilibrium and therefore trans- 
ported his "gin still" buildings, and they became barns, tenements, 

The new Frank Mill started with six sets on cassimere in 1847. 
The mill was architecturally the finest building at the time in the 



village but was consumed by fire in September, 1851. A still finer 
and larger building was erected on its site in 1864, which became 
the Florence Mill. 


Just east of the business center of the city stood the American 
Mills, one of Rockville's industrial landmarks. The goods manu- 
factured have figured prominently in bringing fame to Rockville as 
the home of fine woolens and worsteds. In addition to its regular 
line of the fancy worsteds for men's wear, the Company manufac- 
tured standard and fancy carriage cloths of most novel effects in 
fancy weaves and beautiful colorings in whip cords, Bedford cords, 
wide and narrow wales and diagonals. 

The year 1847 witnessed the building of the American Mill 
by Phineas Talcott. Mr. Talcott was distinctly a man of affairs. 



As agent of the Rock Mill, president of the railroad company and 
of the Savings Bank, he was a splendid example of the powerful 
virtues of our fathers. 

When the American Mills were built the lumber was brought 
from Fulton, New York to Rockville. Here it was framed on School 
Street, on the school yard, and set up in the presence of many on- 


A paper mill was built in 1833. Colonel McLean was part 
owner, out the venture was unsuccessful with a loss of $13,001). 
In the panic of 1837 he lost heavily by signing papers for others. 
This grim epic of adversity he overcame by courage and deter- 
mination, endurance and adaptability. 

The building was 103 feet long by 38 feet wide, brick and 
stone, basement IV2 story, posts of wood. It contained four en- 
gines that carried 125 pounds of rags each, also one 64-inch Four- 
drinier machine. The mill contained other necessary machines, 
presses, boiler, etc., for making paper for books and other printing 
material. Sixteen hundred pounds was considered a fair days 
work, the engines running 24 hours. There were two houses of 
two tenements each for the use of the paper mill, one still stand- 
ing. The first name of the establishment was "Falls Company," 
afterwards incorporated under the name of "Vernon Company." 
The mill continued to run until 1840. It then made an assignment 
of all its effects for the benefit of creditors. 

It was one of the earliest paper mills in Connecticut and was 
erected on the site later occupied by the Belding Silk Mill. It was 
owned by Hale Brothers, proprietors of the New York Journal of 
Commerce. For years, the paper upon which the New York Jour- 
nal of Commerce was printed was furnished by this mill. J. N. 
Stickney, who married one of Mr. Hale's daughters, was manager 
of the paper mill here. 


The Springville Manufacturing Company was nearly contem- 
poraneous with the Rock Manufacturing Company. Though one 
of the smallest of the woolen industries of Rockville, it was one 
of the most successful. 

The stoiy of the beginning and development of the Spring- 
ville Manufacturing Company is the story of Chauncey Wmchell 
who was born February 25, 1796, in Berlin, Connecticut. His par- 
ents being poor and having a large family, he was hired out to a 
farmer by his father until he was 17 years old, his father taking his 
wages. Trained in habits of industry, economy and self-reliance, 
he developed a vigorous physical constitution. 

In his seventeenth year he went to Manchester, Connecticut, 
and obtained work in a mill in the village of Buckland, working 
there several years, learning the trade of a mill-wright. 

In the spring of 1829, Mr. Winchell came to Rockville and in 
partnership with Willard and Halsey Fuller on the 1st of April, 
1829, bought from Francis McLean his oil mill, then located on the 
mill privilege later occupied by the New England Company. This 
mill like many at that period in different parts of New England 
was for grinding flax seed to make linseed oil. In it Mr. McLean 
manufactured linseed oil about three years. On its purchase by the 
Messrs. Fuller and Winchell, it was equipped with cotton ma- 
chinery, carding, spinning and warping, and was at once devoted 




to making warps for satinets. Willard and Halsey Fuller were 
both practical cotton spinners and devoted their personal time and 
labor to the mill. Mr. Winchell, besides investing some capital, 
aided such work in construction and in repairs as he was competent 
to do. On the 28th day of February, 1832, he sold his interest to 
Halsey Fuller and on the 4th of July, 1832, in association with 
Alonzo Bailey, Christopher Burdick and Isaac L. Sanford, pur- 
chased the property afterwards known as the Springville mill. 

Christopher Burdick had recently come to the village and was 
employed at his trade as a machinist in the machine shop of the 
Rock Manufacturing Company. Isaac L. Sanford was a practical 
woolen manufacturer. The business was conducted at first as a 
partnership under the style of the Springville Maufacturing Com- 
pany. Alonzo Bailey was the responsible manager of the business 
and Isaac L. Sanford was the superintendent of the mill. 

The original mill was a small building thirty feet long and 
twenty feet wide, having a basement of brick and two stories of 
wood. It was torn down on the purchase of the property by the 
Springville Company the last of the original mill structures of 
Rockville, after an existence of sixty-five years. 

At the May session of the State Legislature for 1833, an act of 
incorporation was granted to the proprietors, the style of the firm 
being retained as the name of the company and the capital author- 
ized being $100,000. On the first of October, 1833, the individual 
proprietors conveyed their personal interest in the mill and other 
property to the Springville Manufacturing Company for the aggre- 
gate sum of $4,800 and on the 12th of the same month, the or- 
ganization was completed by the election of its officers, Chauncey 
Winchell being elected President, and Alonzo Bailey, Agent and 
Secretary. The salary of the latter was fixed for the first year at 
$1.25 a day and board. 

The capital stock was $4,800 in twelve shares of $400 each. 
Alonzo Bailey subscribed for four shares, Chauncey Winchell, four 
shares, Christopher Burdick for two shares, and Isaac L. Sanford 
for two shares. The success which attended the early operations 
of the company may be inferred from the fact that for the first 
three years after the organization of the company, dividends were 
declared, in January, 1835, $125 per share, in January, 1836, $325 
per share, in January, 1837, $600 per share, an aggregate in three 
years of $1050 per share, or two-hundred and sixty-two and a half 
per cent. 


In 1838, a new mill was erected, 85 feet long, 34 feet wide, 
basement stone, first story, brick, and two stories of wood. Alonzo 
Bailey acted as agent and treasurer till January, 1860. 

In 1844, Chauncey Winchell became superintendent of the 
Springville mill and held that office until 1849. He was succeeded 
in the office by his son, Cyrus Winchell, who was born in Man- 
chester, Connecticut, in 1821. 

At the annual meeting of the Springville Manufacturing Com- 
pany in 1860, Alonzo Bailey declined a re-election as agent and 
treasurer, and on the 25th of January of that year, sold all his shares 
of stock. Cyrus Winchell was elected at the same meeting agent 
and treasurer, and held both offices until the transfer of the prop- 
erty and franchise of the corporation to the Hockanum Company, 
which was made in January, 1886. Chauncey Winchell held the 
office of president during its whole history of more than fifty-two 
years. His home still stands at the corner of West Main Street 
and Orchard Street, and the old Springville Mill may still be seen, 
pushed unceremoniously back into the rear. 


The "twin mills," built by Ebenezer Nash and Delano Abbott 
became the Hockanum Mills which was organized May 31, 1836. 
The original incorporators were: Lebbeus P. Tinker, President; 
Alonzo Bailey, Secretary; Austin Holt, Agent; Ralph Talcott and 
Bickford Abbott. Their capital was $7,500. This mill continued 
the manufacture of satinets. In 1854 this mill burned but was soon 
rebuilt, and in 1869 George Maxwell became its president, secre- 
tary and agent. Under his able leadership the plant made great 
progress. Upon his death, in 1891, his son, Francis T. Maxwell, 
became president and treasurer. One of the Twin Mills is still 
standing, at the foot of Morrison and River Streets. 


In 1836, Captain Allen Hammond with George Kellogg built 
the New England Mill. Mr. Kellogg, who had stood shoulder to 
shoulder with Colonel McLean and Ralph Talcott through their 
early struggles for success, now undertook another enterprise. 
Calling Captain Allen Hammond from his farm on Quarry Hill, 
he made the New England Mill a fact with himself as agent and 
Mr. Hammond superintendent. This was like all the manufac- 
tories preceding, it was also a satinet manufactory. It was burned 
in the autumn of 1841, and rebuilt during the fall and winter fol- 



The house at the extreme right was the Pember home. 
The next house was the Maxwell home. All these build- 
ings were demolished when the Maxwell residence (now 
the City Hospital) was built. 




lowing. Business was rather poor at the time. The burning of 
the New England Mill was a great loss for Rockville, but far greater 
to the owners. They had an insurance of $16,000, which was 
cheerfully paid. 

It is an ill wind that blows no good. The making of cassimeres 
in Rockville commenced in the rebuilt mill, and proved to be an 
advantage over satinets. No other cloth than satinets had been 
made in Rockville. The new mill was fitted with machinery for 
fabricating fancy cassimeres, which was an entirely new branch 
of the woolen business, requiring a much higher degree of skill 
in the workmen, and affording as the event has shown, larger 
profits. Its introduction began an era in the history of manufac- 
turing in Rockville. Captain Hammond was the first man in Rock- 
ville who learned the mystery of setting up a loom chain to make 
a figure in weaving. 

Prior to this time, the only goods manufactured were cotton 
warps. The New England decided to commence the manufacture 
of all-wool fancy "kerseymeres," and had the new looms from the 
original George Crompton. It was from Mr. Crompton that Cap- 
tain Hammond learned designing. The New England Company's 
looms turned out the first all-wool "fancies" made in America. 



John Brown, of Ossawattamic fame, immortalized in song and 
story, was a frequent visitor to the New England Mill in its early 
days. He purchased wool for the company when George Kellogg 
(Uncle George) was agent. With the utmost confidence in his 
honesty, the company advanced him money with which to pur- 
chase wool in the West. 

On one occasion $2,800 was placed in his hands for that pur- 
pose, and the receipt for the same remained in the possession of 
Mr. J. C. Hammond, Jr., for many years. Unfortunately, John 
Brown became financially involved and wrote a letter explaining 
the situation, dated at Franklin Mills, August 27, 1839, and ad- 
dressed to George Kellogg, Esq., agent of New England Manufac- 
turing Company, Vernon, Connecticut. 

There was not yet any post office in Rockville. The letter was 
written on a piece of paper unruled, nearly the size of a sheet of 
foolscap. Envelopes were not used at that time, and the letter 
bears the marks of the prevailing style of folding and also the wafer 
and the marks of the letter seal on the wafer. The figures 25 are 
doubtless the amount of the postage. The letter was dated about 
four days before mailing, due perhaps to limited postal facilities. 

In the letter John Brown humbles himself, and the whole 
sentiment is that of regret at not being able to pay at that time 
and a promise of doing all in his power to liquidate. In his will 
he named the sum of $50 for the Company. 

John Brown was born in Torrington May 9, 1800. He was 
executed for treason, murder in the first degree and criminal con- 
spiracy with slaves by Governor Wise, at Charlestown, Virginia, 
December 2, 1859. The North, however, considered him a martvr 
and a saint, and the bell on the old First Church of Rockville was 
tolled out of respect to him. 

John Brown was related to Dr. Herman Humphrey, once pres- 
ident of Amherst College, and to the Rev. Luther Humphrey. 
They were his cousins. The heroic magnitude of mind with which 
he accepted his fate is found in the following letter: 



Charlestown, Jefferson County 
19th November. 1859 


John Brown to his cousin 
Rev. Luther Humphrey 
From the Jail: 

I neither feel mortified, degraded, nor in the least ashamed 
of mv imprisonment, my chain or my near prospect of death by 
hano;mg;. I feel assured that not one hair shall fall from mv head 
without the will of mv Heavenly Father. 

I shall be sixtv vears old were I to live to May 9, 1860. 

Your affectionate Cousin, 

John Brown. 

Herman Humphrey, D.D., a graduate of Yale, was President 
of Amherst College twenty-two years ( 1823-45 ) . During that 
time he also held professorships in the fields of Sacred Theology, 
Moral Philosophy, and Metaphvsics. 

Luther Humphrev graduated from Amherst College in 1836; 
he attended the Madison Union Theological Seminary in the vear 
1840-41 and was ordained a Baptist minister in Lorraine, New York, 
on July 13, 1842. 


In the vear 1836, Phineas Talcott, Ralph Talcott, Aaron Kel- 
logg and Hubbard Kellogg built the Leeds Mill, which later be- 
came a part of the Rock Mill. The Leeds Brick Mill continued 
until 1864. That year, the magnificent 5-story building was pur- 
chased and business moved there. The Company was organized 
February 2, 1880, with Samuel Fitch, founder, Chancey H. Strick- 
land and Spencer S. Fitch. There may be seen the old stone arch 
and kev stone dated 1864, indicating the site on which the Leeds 
Mill was built. 


The envelope industry had its beginning in this country in a 
number of places, all at about the same time, one being Rockville. 
The Envelope Shop is still an important part of the history of the 
city. As far as can be determined, the White, Corbin Companv 
a hundred years ago was the first envelope manufacturer in New 
England, and one of the very first in the United States. In Worces- 
ter, Massachusetts, there were several envelope folding machines 
in the process of development; one by Dr. Russell Hawes in 1353, 
which was found unsatisfactory, and two other experiments by 
James Arnold and James Ball, of Worcester, during the period of 
1853-1856, which were not patented. 

Cyrus White, the founder of White, Corbin and Companv 
was born in Richmond, Vermont, November 18, 1814, and died at 
Rockville, Mav 10. 1891, aged 77 vears. He was reared on a farm 
in the frugal tradition of self-help. 

In 1836, when 22 years of age, Cyrus White made an engage- 
ment for emplovment with a man in Ware, Massachusetts, but his 
prospective employer died suddenly, just a few hours before he 
arrived. He thus found himself among strangers with onlv 83.00. 
Bv chance he heard of a prospective opening at Vernon Centre 
and joined a driver who was taking a herd of cattle to Vernon. 
He obtained work as a blacksmith and remained there until some- 
time during 1838. He desired to start in business on his own 
account and planned to locate at Rockville as that town gave evi- 
dence of growth, and a little later, he was able to purchase the 
blacksmith shop and business of Elizur S. Hurlburt in Rockville 
and with a cash capital of a little over $100, started in business. 

In July, 1849, Cyrus White bought for $1,700 a half interest in 
a foundrv owned bv Wm. R. Orcutt, Mr. J. N. Sticknev buving 
the other half interest for a like amount. The inventory of the 
property outside of the real estate was $108.00. Thev also assumed 
notes and accounts pavable of $1,446.27. making the entire amount 
of their investment $4,954.36. In 1850. a machine shop was added 
to the foundry. 

When Mr. Wm. R. Orcutt came to Rockville. he brought with 
him an ingenious young man bv the name of Milton G. Puffer, 
a pattern maker and blacksmith bv trade, who at once found em- 
plovment with Cyrus White in his pattern and blacksmith shop 



and through this connection, Rockville is indebted to Mr. Orcutt 
for its Envelope industry. 

The making of envelopes by machinery was in the minds of 
many men and White and Stickney proposed that Mr. Puffer, who 
had shown inventive ability, build for them an envelope machine, 
he to own one-third interest and the firm to own the other two- 
thirds. Discouraged at the slow progress of the invention he went 
to Windsor Locks and abandoned for the time being the project. 
On February 5, 1853, Mr. Puffer returned to Rockville, finished 
the envelope machine and operated it for a short time. But while 
it made envelopes after a fashion, it was not a mechanical success. 

Mr. Puffer at once went to work on his second machine, the 
first machine being consigned to the scrap heap. We have no 
knowledge of what it was like — all we know is that it was con- 
structed on the rotary principle, which was the dream of every 
envelope machine inventor. 

Mr. Puffer made some improvements in the mechanism of his 
machine, and also made a double machine, that is, two machines 
were combined. The machine had two folding boxes. It was, 
in fact, two machines mounted on the same frame. By this im- 
provement, the production of each operative was practically 
doubled, now being about three thousand per hour for the double 
machine. Still, the machine was not a self gummer. Other in- 
ventors were at work in various parts of the country, and in due 
time the Berlin & Jones Company, of New York, brought out a new 
machine which did more and better work than the Puffer machine. 
White, Corbin & Company bought one of the New York machines 
and this almost broke Mr. Puffer's heart. 

When the Berlin & Jones machine was delivered at the White, 
Corbin and Company factory, Mr. Puffer experienced great dif- 
ficulty in running it, so a girl was sent up from New York to op- 
erate the machine, and she demonstrated the success of the ma- 
chine. This was a hard blow to Mr. Puffer, and seeing that his 
machine had been passed by in the race, he pathetically said 
nothing, but taking his hat and coat left the factory, never to 

In 1866, Mr. Prescott assumed the active management of the 
White, Corbin & Company. 

In 1895, three years prior to consolidating with other envelope 
manufacturers into what is now the United States Envelope Com- 
pany, in 1898, the local company of White, Corbin & Company 




headed by William H. Prescott employed 100 hands and produced 
1,000,000 envelopes a day, working ten hours a day including 

Now much antiquated machinery has been replaced with mod- 
ern machinery, enabling the local plant to turn out 3,000,000 en- 
velopes a day or 15 million each week in six working days, includ- 
ing various sizes of Bag Envelopes on a machine made by the 
Holweg Company of Strassburg, France, that the local company 
installed six to eight months ago, with a production of 15,000 per 
hour. The local company now employs approximately 225 people. 


The James J. Regan Manufacturing Company were manufac- 
turers of knit goods, cotton yarns and woven goods, and dealt in 
woolen stock of all kinds. Born in the town of Stone, Stafford- 
shire, England, James J. Regan emigrated to America while still 
a boy. He began business in East Willington, Connecticut, and 
came to Rockville in the early 1860's, working for a time in the 
Rock Mill, and later as overseer of the carding in the Windermere 

While at the Windermere, he invented a flock cutting ma- 
chine, a great improvement on anything existing at that time. 

He began business on his own account in 1869, the year of 
the great flood, renting rooms in the old Stone Mill. About 1875 
he again started in the shoddy business, occupying the old car- 
riage shop on Vernon Avenue. Then he removed to the Florence 
Mill on West Main Street, where he continued for nearly sixteen 
years. Business so increased that in 1891, on the death of Cyrus 
White, he purchased the Glasgow Mill, adding the business of 
making knit goods, woolen cloths, etc. His two mills were equipped 
with all the latest machinery and all modern improvements 
throughout. He died in 1897. He had a name for sound business 
principles and honesty of dealing, and was prodigiously indus- 

Announcement was made on February 13th, 1935, that the 
James J. Repan Manufacturing Company had been sold, and on 
Thursday, March 7th, Herbert J. Regan, last male member of the 
family passed away. 

For sixty-seven years the city and its people had reaped much 
benefit from what was started here by the founder, James J. Regan, 
in 1868, and later carried on by his sons, Francis J. and Herbert 
J. Regan. 

James J. Regan left behind at his death a name for sound 
business principles and honesty of dealings that is an honor to his 

The business was incorporated in June, 1898, at which time 
Francis J. Regan was made President and Treasurer. "Colonel 
Frank" had a long and thorough training in the business, of which 
for many years he was the responsible head. 




The beginning of this great textile business was small, the 
"old stone mill" being the original building used. A short time 
after 1868, the business was transferred to Daleville where Mr. 
Regan purchased a mill and began operations. 

Upon leaving the stone mill the Regan plant was moved into 
the Florence Mill where it remained several years. Rusiness in- 
creased so rapidly, however, that in 1891 Mr. Regan purchased the 
Glasgow Mill at the west end, which was operated until his death 
on August 6th, 1897. 



Elisha J. Martin, born in Tolland, October 12, 1845, attended 
the District Schools, was reared a farmer boy, and occupied with 
agricultural duties until he enlisted in the Civil War. In the army 
he made an excellent record as a courageous soldier. 

Returning from the War, he was engaged for a time in the 
carding room at the Rock Mill. Then he was night watchman at 
the Silk Mill of Belding Brothers, and in 1875 worked in Simonds 
Silk Mill. While there he invented a machine for the clearing of 
silk by means of which much labor and material could be saved. 
Martin suffered an injustice in this matter as many another in- 
ventor has done. The Simonds Company claimed the invention 
as their own, and Mr. Martin not having the financial means to 
fight for his rights in the courts laid the matter before A. N. Beld- 
ing, of Rockville. The result was a compromise — the patent right 
was divided with the Simonds Company. 

Elisha J. Martin entered the employment of Belding Brothers 
in the Spring of 1877. Here he began to make braided eye-glass 
cords as a pleasant occupation, and finally began making braided 
fish lines for some of his friends, procuring a braider for the pur- 
pose. Soon after, on account of the popularity of these lines, he 
decided to try a business in that direction. So he rented a room 
in Belding Brothers Mill, and entered extensively into this line. 

Fifteen years later, the business had grown to such propor- 
tions that he found it advisable to have more room and built the 
factory on Mountain Street in 1894. The development was won- 
derful, the product of this factory being known all over the United 
States as "The King Fisher," a feature of it being a secret process 
of enameling, which added to its durability while not in the least 
detracting from its flexibility and preventing any knotting or kink- 
ing of the line. Wherever placid lakes lure the disciples of Isaac 
Walton the name of Kingfisher is known. 

The factory was the pioneer in the development and the mak- 
ing of parachute cord at the time of the first World War, and has 
continued with this work ever since, until during the second World 
War the production was tremendous. The factory not only made 
parachute cord for human chutes, but merchandise chutes, flares 
and other types, both of nylon and silk; also powder bag cord 
which was used to tie the powder bags used in the large Navy 



Coast Defense Guns, and this was made of silk because of its leav- 
ing no residue ash, thereby preventing any backfire in the guns 
when the breech was opened. This was made in great quantity 
without a single rejection throughout the whole war. In fact, it 
was estimated some time ago that the production during the war 
period was over fifty million yards of nylon and silk cord, and 
nearly one-third of a million yards of rayon. In other words, 
enough cord was made to reach all the way around the world and 
beyond Honolulu besides, taking the starting point at the plant in 

After the death of Elisha J. Martin in 1899, his son, A. Leroy 
Martin, conducted the business, and under his able management 
production more than doubled. He was very active in community 
affairs, a lover of sports and generous in heart. Everybody knew 


Belding Brothers and Company are silk manufacturers of world- 
wide reputation. The history of the rise and progress of these 
manufacturers of machine twist, sewing and embroidery silks, fol- 
lowing through their years, reads more like romance than reality. 

It dates back to about 1857. At that time E. K. Rose, asso- 
ciated with other gentlemen, introduced the silk business into 
Rockville. His operations at first were limited — for some time four 
girls constituted his entire force of laborers, until the Belding 
Brothers became identified with the business. 

Hiram H. and Alvah N. Belding, who had worked on their 
father's farm in Belding, Michigan, began peddling sewing silk 
from house to house, using their brother, Milo, who lived in Ash- 
field, Mass., as a purchasing agent. Their business grew to the 
point that, in 1861, several teams and wagons were necessary. 

In 1863, they established a house in Chicago, and in the same 
year, they formed a partnership with E. K. Rose. The Belding 
Bros. & Company began operations in Rockville in what was then 
known as the Glasgow Thread Mill. The business thrived, and in 
1865 a sales office was opened in New York City. In that same year 
they bought an old paper mill, tore it down, and built a fine new 

The partnership with Mr. Rose, who was a poor manager, proved 
to be an unfortunate one. He speculated heavily in stocks, and 
the partnership was dissolved. Liabilities of $235,000 did not, 



however, force the Beldings into the bankruptcy courts, where 
they might have found easy relief. They managed to pay off all 
their debts, thanks to moral courage and the financial ability of 
Milo Belding. 

In 1870, Belding Brothers & Company bought the Rose Silk 
Mill and machinery paying $41,000 for it. Additions were made 
to this mill, and in 1909 a large stone mill just across the stream 
which furnished water power was purchased. 

The year 1876 saw expansion in two directions. They pur- 
chased a plant in Northampton, Mass., and began work there. 
They also began operations in Montreal, Canada. 

With factories at Rockville, Northampton, Belding, and Mont- 
real, and with sales offices in all the large cities of the United 
States from New York to San Francisco, Belding Brothers and 
Company was, at its peak of success, one of Rockville's most ex- 
tensive industries. 

Belding Brothers & Company merged with the Hemingway 
Company in December of 1925, and in 1927 the Belding-Heming- 
way Co., sold its land, buildings and water rights to the Keeneys 
of Somersville, Connecticut. 

In 1936, the property was leased from the estate of Lafayette 
Keeney by the American Dyeing Corporation, and bought by that 
company in 1948. 



During the year 1854, Samuel Fitch, at that time traveling for 
the Hazardville Powder Company, intuitively saw the future of 
Stockinet, and immediately took steps toward the beginning of an 
industry which resulted in the manufacture of a variety of plain 
and mixed knit goods of various grades and weights, embracing 
cotton, woolen, plushes, and "eider downs." 

Stockinet is used for almost unlimited purposes, for lining rub- 
ber goods, and for under and over garments — Eider down is used 
almost exclusively for opera cloaks, ladies' and children's outside 
wear. And the various shades in this product are simply beautiful. 

Samuel Fitch began traveling for the Enfield Powder Com- 
pany as early as 1839, and for fifteen years peddled powder 
throughout the New England States. Then he began manufacture 
of Stockinets in 1854 at West Stafford. He had little capital, and 
business was operated in a small way. 

In April, 1867, he brought his stockinet mill to Rockville and 
started business first in rooms in the old Glasgow Thread Com- 

(in center) Later Purchased by the Hockanum Mills 



pany's Mills remaining there until Cyrus White took possession of 
the property, when it was transferred to the Leeds Company's 
brick mill. 

In 1874, Mr. Fitch bought the Carlisle Thread Company's 
property on East Main Street and owing to the large demand for 
the products of the mill the business increased rapidly. Unfor- 
tunately, the next few years proved very disastrous for business in 
general, and the stockinet trade suffered. 

In 1889 a joint stock company was formed with Samuel Fitch 
as President; Spencer S. Fitch, Vice-President; and George G. 
Smith, Secretary. 

The products of this corporation became celebrated and its 
stockinets, eider downs and plushes could be found in the lead- 
ing markets of the United States. The J. J. Regan Company pur- 
chased the entire plant in January, 1899. 

J. J. Regan sold the Rockville Worsted Company to Edward 
and Thomas Corcorans. They sold it to George Daniels, who 
moved to Brookfield, Massachusetts, and the Hockanum Mills Com- 
pany bought it. 


The finest and best equipped business block in Tolland Coun- 
ty is located on Union Street, immediately adjoining the Union 
Congregational Church and is one of the two fine buildings which 
arose phoenix-like from the ruins of the disastrous fire of April 3, 
1888. It was erected by Samuel Fitch, first mayor of the city, and 
one of its leading manufacturers. 

The building is three full stories, with basement, substantially 
built of brick with rough brownstone trimmings. The first floor 
contains six spacious and finely arranged stores with plate glass 
double fronts. 

The second floor is devoted to offices, residence flats and two 
lodge halls. 

On the third floor was located one of the finest photograph 
galleries in Connecticut, fully equipped, and residence flats and 

Decorating the top of the building is a large stone Phoenix, 
the Egyptian bird famed for its ability to rise to a new life out of 
the ashes of its own death. Samuel Fitch exemplified the Phoenix 
in erecting the present useful building out of the ashes of the old 
popular skating rink and the home of the famous State League 
Polo Team. 




The Minterburn Mill was built in 1906 on the site of the 
old Rockville Warp Mills Company. A handsome concrete con- 
struction, it is the largest mill in the city — 300 feet long by 56 feet 
wide and five stories high. 

This mill was built by the Maxwell and Sykes families. The 
Maxwells also owned, at this time, the Springville, the New Eng- 
land and the Hockanum Mills. And in the year 1906, the holding 
Company for the four mills was formed and called the Hockanum 
Mills Company. 

It was in the year 1934 that the M. T. Stevens and Co., bought 
the Hockanum Mills Company. This company operated the four 
mills until 1951, when the community was stunned by the an- 
nouncement that the mills could not be profitably operated, and 
would be closed. 


The Hockanum Mills Company bought the Saxony Mills on 
West Street from the James J. Regan Company in 1933. The prop- 
erty included a modern two-story building erected in 1920 in which 
the carding and spinning departments were housed, and the old 
building which has a high basement, two stories and an attic. The 
original building is one of the oldest mill buildings in town, with 
old wooden pegs being used in part of it. 



The American Dyeing Corporation was incorporated as a new 
company in November, 1936, and began operations in Rockviile, 
Connecticut, in processing of rayon piece goods primarily to be 
used as linings in clothing and luggage. 

The Prsident of the Corporation, and major stockholder, was 
William Horowitz who came to Rockviile with many years of 
experience in the weaving industry and the dyeing industry as the 
principal guiding force in the H & H Manufacturing Company 
and its affiliates located in Quidnick, Rhode Island. Associated 
with him was Abraham L. Brooks, now Vice-President of the Com- 
pany, and Nat N. Schwedel, Treasurer. 

Upon his graduation from Brown University, Mr. Horowitz's 
son, Ben Horowitz, in June of 1938, also joined the company, and 
upon the death of William Horowitz on May 4, 1952, became 
President. The property occupied by the company was owned 
at the time of leasing by the Estate of Lafayette Keeney of Som- 
ersville, Connecticut. It had remained idle from 1928 to 1936, and 




previous to that had been owned by the Belding-Hemingway Silk 

The property was purchased from the Estate on February 3, 
1948, and many additional sections have been added to the prop- 
erty as expansion requirements demanded. 

In 1941, an affiliated corporation was formed in Cranston, 
Rhode Island, under the name of the Bellefont Dyeing Corpora- 
tion, and under the same management and ownership The Belle- 
font Dyeing Corporation in 1944 moved to Fiskdale, Massachu- 
setts, in the Town of Sturbridge, where it is now located. 

The Massachusetts location concentrates upon the dyeing and 
finishing of rayon piece goods in lining fields; the Rockville, Con- 
necticut plant has branched out into other fabrics, including ray- 
ons, acetates, combinations of rayon and acetate, nylon, combina- 
tions of nylon and cotton, dacron and orlon. 

It operates its own laboratory for testing all new materials, for 
testing ingredients to be placed in the dyeing and finishing process, 
for the manufacture of all its own soaps and finishes. It operates 
its own machine shop for the repair of its equipment, and for the 
building of special equipment for special problems. It processes 
all its own steam and purchases only such electric power as is not 
generated by its own generating equipment. 

It has recently become a licensee of the Deering, Milliken & 
Company, Inc., in the processing of "Milium," which is a treatment 
creating an insulated fabric. It is one of only two licensees in 
the United States authorized to do this process. In order to prop- 
erly handle this new "Miracle" fabric, it has erected a new build- 
ing exclusively for the housing of this process. 


Upon William Horowitz's death on May 4, 1952, the William 
Horowitz Foundation, a charitable foundation that was formed by 
Mr. Horowitz and his associates some years ago, spearheaded a 
program both as a community project, and as a memorial to him, 
for the erection of a swimming pool, wading pool, and field house 
in Henry Park, owned by the City of Rockville. 

Ground was broken on the anniversary of his death, May 4, 
1953, and the project was presented to the City of Rockville as a 
gift of the community and the friends of William Horowitz. Its 
value is estimated at $100,000.00, and it is the first such facility 
available within the area. 



Wholesalers of Alumnium Storm Windows 

Incorporated under Connecticut laws, September 15, 1952 

Norman B. Chase, President 
Norma L. (Mrs. N. B.) Chase, Secretary 
Morton Lieberman, Treasurer 
Directors: The Officers 

Estimated worth: $10,000. 


Manufacturers of Fishlines and Parachute Cords 
Incorporated under Connecticut laws, November 13, 1952 

Incorporators : 

Harry C. Miller 
Charles F. Phillips 
Sidney R. Pine 


Donald E. Fisk Paul Sweeney 

John Mason Samuel Gamble 

John Sweeney John F. Dailey, Jr. 

Authorized capital in 1951 — $50,000 preferred and 100 shares common- 
no par value. 

Formerly, The National Printing Company 
Amel T. Bruneau, President and Treasurer 

Mr. Bruneau purchased property at Brooklyn Street, but after 
a few years moved out of the city. 


From the commencement of manufacturing in Rockville in 
1821 until the opening of the Hartford, Providence, and Fishkill 
Railroad in 1849, all travel and transportation in and out of the 
town was by teams. Manufacturing agents drove to Hartford sev- 
eral times a week, in unpredictable weather, starting early in the 
morning, making numerous purchases of factory and family stores, 
doing a general errand business, and returning late in the evening 
after a hard day's work. Freight also had to be handled by team, 
though "Jim" King's fine six-horse team furnished a splendid equip- 

The railroad fever possessed the nation about the year 1840 
and by 1851 the Erie had linked the Hudson and the Great Lakes. 
In 1849 the construction of the Hartford, Providence and Fishkill 
Railroad brought traveling facilities within a distance of four and 
a half miles of the village of Rockville. 

Another generation of stage drivers followed the building of 




the railroad and a line was run from Rockville to Vernon Station, 
carrying the U. S. Mail. It was started by George Hammond who 
ran it for a few years and then sold it to Harvey King. King owned 
and occupied a portion of what is now St. Bernard's Terrace prop- 
erty. He was the proprietor of the stage route between Rockville 
and Vernon Depot. George Brown was the driver. 

Besides this route he sent a stage to Warehouse Point through 
Ellington and Broad Brook to connect with the train from Hart- 
ford to Springfield, bringing back passengers from the town train, 
and also a stage to Tolland. Most of the drivers used four horses 
but there was one stage on which they drove six horses. These 
Concord stages cost from $1,200 to $1,600. 

People felicitated themselves upon the improvement. But 
what a bore that four and a half miles of staging soon came to be 
considered. How passengers grumbled over the 15 minutes' delay 
in loading some half-score of passengers inside, and a like numbei 
indefinitely extended outside, accompanied by mountains of bag- 
gage and express packages! Plow miserable the drag over the hills 
in the heat, dust, mud, snow and rain, outside with no umbrella 
and in the dark with no lantern! 

The intoxicating possibility of a railroad connecting Rockville 
and Vernon and thus cooperating with the larger trend became the 
subject of earnest conversation. Manufacturers saw cheap freight, 
better traveling facilities and increased trade. Finally, on a sea- 
sonable February morning in the year 1856, "Bill" Orcutt with his 
alert mind and engaging grin pleasantly invited Messrs. William 
T. Cogswell, Francis Keeney, J. W. Stickney and A. C. Crosby to 
join him on a tour of prospective inspection. William R. Orcutt 
was distinctly a self-made man. He started out as a boy with 
ninepence, bought a gun, and earned money by shooting game. He 
left a large estate. 

Starting from Market Street, these shrewd and observant com- 
panions walked through the fields in a foot of snow to Vernon, 
considered carefully a logical route for a railroad, dined copiously 
at McLean's tavern, and returned to Rockville by another way. 
Their passion was as pure as the snow, but thin. Plans emerged 
from a survey made in the autumn of 1856 which occupied eight 
days at the microscopic expense of $45 (Orcutt paid $16 of that 
out of his own prodigal generosity). But the year 1857 brought 
a national depression, and the high hopes of a railroad were buried 
for a period of five years. 


On October 29, 1862, when the first breath of winter was 
creeping over New England, the project was rescued from oblivion 
by the opening of several books of subscriptions which were taken 
up in two days by local citizens with the eagerness of men pur- 
chasing choice lots in the suburbs of Utopia. It was purely a home 
enterprise. On that same day a Company was formally organized 
by the choice of five directors: Phineas Talcott, Allen Hammond, 
George Kellogg, E. B. Preston and William R. Orcutt. Phineas 
Talcott was elected President, and E. B. Preston, Clerk and Treas- 

The contract for grading the road was given to Messrs. Clyde 
and Griffin and the first shovelful of earth moved on the 26th day 
of November, 1862. During the winter the work was pushed, and 
on the 10th day of August, 1863, the completion of the road was 
celebrated by an excursion over the road to Hartford and return, 
and a bounteous dinner at Keeney's hotel in a delightful atmos- 

The road was opened for regular travel on August 11, 1863. 
In the first year 150 passengers were carried each day, the amount 
of freight 17,400 tons, and Rockville was connected with the outer 
world by its four trains every day. The actual cost of road and 
equipment totalled $165,000. 

The first train over the new railroad was run through to Hart- 
ford and conductor McManus of the Old Hartford, Providence and 
Fishkill road came out from Hartford to run that particular train. 
It was a great event. A large number of prominent citizens en- 
joyed the first trip over the road. 

The first engine purchased was Rockville ( nicknamed Betsy ) . 
It rested on six wheels. It had but four when purchased, the pony 
truck being placed some time later. The Betsy carried a very large 
and noisy bell which was out of all proportion to the rest of the 
engine, excepting perhaps the smoke stack. 

The Betsy was a wood-burner, with a firebox so small that 
it was necessary to make two cuts in 4 foot wood to get it into 
the firebox, and it was necessary to keep one man at work sawing 
wood to supply the engine. A Mr. Ladd was known as the offi- 
cial sawer. A few people will recall little "Betsy" and Shenipset 
locomotives, nicknamed "teakettles." 

At one time, hauling a single car, she made afternoon trips to 
Hartford. On the first trip entry into the capital city was unan- 
nounced. Emerging from the tunnel with hissing noises and the 


ringing of the great bell, the old Hartford station shook with 
thunderous sounds. Everyone within hearing distance stood still 
and looked in every direction for the cause of the commotion. 
Most of the comments of the hostile crowd were not complimen- 

The crew consisted of Conductor Putnam who was not only 
the conductor of the train, but sold the tickets in the ticket office 
and made out the freight bills. Engineer Goldman had charge of 
the engine. George Brown was the baggage master at the station 
and on the train, and also acted as brakeman. Samuel Eaton was 
the fireman. Conductor Putnam remained in the employ of the 
road for many years, and after the close of his long term of service, 
Henry Vanness became conductor. The fare to Hartford was 
seventy-five cents. By the way, this branch railroad from Rock- 
ville to Vernon connected with trains going West to Hartford and 
points beyond and going East to Willimantic and points beyond. 

There was also another railroad, Connecticut Central, that 
operated between Springfield, Massachusetts, and East Hartford, 
where it connected with the New England Railroad. On this road 
at the town of Melrose, there was a branch line from Melrose to 
Rockville through Ellington. This branch line is still in use for 
freight only from Rockville to Ellington. 

The Rockville Company operated its own road for the first 
five years and then leased it to the Hartford, Providence and Fish- 
kill Company for five years at a yearly rental of $9,000. The Rail- 
road was finally sold to the New York, New Haven, and Hartford 
Railroad Company on April 25, 1903. 


The most popular official of the railroad was Conductor Henry 
Vanness, who, on September 1, 1864, when the railroad had been 
in operation only a year, entered the employ of the company as a 
freight handler, and continued in that capacity until 1866, when he 
was placed in charge of the switching crew at Rockville. His home 
was on Fox Hill. In 1868, he was promoted to baggagemaster, 
and in February, 1880, to pasenger conductor, in which position he 
served until May 4, 1907, when he retired on pension. He knew 
his passengers as well as Sam Clemens knew his river men and his 
pilots. Forty-three years of service with an absolutely clear rec- 
ord on his retirement won for him the regard, respect and good 
wishes of his associates and the entire community. So far as is 


known, he was the only colored railroad conductor in the country 
at that time. 

On January 1, 1880, about 40 of the businessmen of the city 
assembled at the Rockville House to present a badge to Conduc- 
tor Henry Vanness as a token of the esteem in which he was held 
by the people. 

The badge was of gold and enamel; the design was a ribbon 
border enclosing a miniature lantern; on the border the letters 
N. Y. P. & F., and at the sides Semper Paratus, all in blue and black 
enamel. The lantern had a red enamel globe, in the center of which 
was a small diamond for a light, the design representing the faith- 
ful conductor who never failed to have the proper signals ready in 
case of an emergency by day or night. 

Ever polite, ever faithful, ever honest, ever accommodating, 
ever ready Vanness! 


Panola — employs 50 operatives, makes satinets, jeans and warps, 
pay roll $1,500 monthly, has a steam engine which will run two-thirds 
of the machinery, and by its aid are running full time. 

Belding Brothers Silk Mill — 170 hands, monthly pay roll $3,500, 
thirty horsepower engine just introduced, by which the mill runs full 
time without the aid of water power. 

Thompson & Dickinson Wool, Shoddy and Wadding Mills — employs 
35 hands, pay roll $1,000, have an engine at the lower mill, and are 
thus but partially dependent upon water power. (Dickinson, of Witch 
Hazel fame.) 

J. N. Leonard's Silk Mill — 60 hands, pay roll $1,500, have a fine 
engine which will run all the machinery. 

Carlisle Thread Mill — 80 hands, pay roll $2,200, use team power 
for about one-sixth of the mill. 

American Mills — fancy cassimeres — employ 190 hands, with a 
monthly pay roll of $6,000. They have averaged about five hours daily 
the past week, being dependent entirely upon water for power. 

Rock Manufacturing Company— -fancy cassimeres — 180 hands, pay 
roll $7,000. Main Mill dependent entirely upon water, running their 
four-set mill with a thirty-five horsepower engine. 

Fitch's Stockinet Mill — 20 hands, pay roll $600; use only water for 
power, but are enlarging and refitting, and propose to put in steam if 
necessary when the improvements shall be completed. 

Leeds Woolen Company — 80 hands, pay roll $2,000, have only water 
power, and consequently run short time. 

White Manufacturing Company — Ginghams — 120 hands, pay roll 
$3,000, water power, short time. 

White, Corbin & Company — Envelopes — 60 hands, pay roll $2,000, 
water power only; machinery light, and able to run more hours than 
the woolen mills. 

New England Company — fancy cassimeres — 125 hands, pay roll 
$4,000; water power only. 

Florence Mill — beavers, tricots, etc. — 230 hands, pay roll $7,500, 
running full time, using a steam engine sufficient for all their machinery. 

Springville Company — black satinets — 50 hands, pay roll $1,800, 
water power only. 

Hockanum Company — fancy cassimeres — 125 hands, pay roll $3,000. 
This Company is now introducing steam power, having an 80 horse 
engine which will run the entire mill. They expect to be ready to run 
full time after next Monday. 

Snipsic Mill — 50 hands, pay roll $1,000, have an engine of 25 horse 
power which, with what water they get, carries all their machinery full 

Windermere Woolen Company — 130 hands, pay roll $3,800, water 
power only. The Windermere Mill is not included in our historical 
sketch because it is in the Town of Ellington. In the time of the Civil 
War it prospered in the little village. The building still stands — just 
a memory of the past. 



The New England Company received the highest prize at the 
World's Exposition at Vienna in 1876 — The Medal of Merit — the 
highest medal awarded for fine, fancy cassimeres. The Cincin- 
nati Exposition of 1885 reported by the Chicago Republican states: 

"Another of the curiosities of the Exposition is a dis- 
play of several bales of raw silk, just as prepared for manu- 
facturing purposes. The raw silk shown is of China 
growth, the first being Tsatlee, and the two poorer grades 
being Canton. Belding Brothers and Company has the 
largest exhibition of silk goods that is shown, and the desk 
at which they display their goods has been the center of 
a crowd of ladies during the whole day. Nothing is shown 
in this class which equals their exhibition." 

At the Exposition at New Orleans in 1885 a list of awards in- 
cluded — Belding Brothers and Co., Medal of First Class for Gen- 
eral Display of Manufactured Silk; Medal of First Class for Shoe 
Manufacturer's Silk; Medal of First Class for Knitting Silk; Medal 
of First Class for Machine Twist. 

The Springville Manufacturing Company in March 4, 1889, 
made the Inauguration Cloth for President Benjamin Harrison and 
Vice-President Levi P. Morton. A sample of the cloth may be seen 
in the Rockville Public Library. 

The Rock Manufacturing Company made the cloth worn by 
President Harrison and Vice-President Levi P. Morton at the Cen- 
tennial Celebration of the Inauguration of George Washington as 
President of the United States in New York City, April 30, 1889. 
The cloth "Clay Twill" was made from a very fine grade of worsted 
yarn. There were six thousand, seven hundred ends, and one hun- 
dred and twelve picks of filling to the inch, the dye being alizarin. 

The official announcement of the Columbian Exposition in 
Chicago in 1895 states: 



"The Hockanum Company — and, of course, the 
Springville and New England in connection with it — 
manufactures fancy worsteds and woolens that deserve 
the highest praise for excellence of design and fabrica- 
tion, and the best of all the cloth exhibited by Americans 
at the world's greatest fair. The patterns leave nothing 
to be desired in design and quality of fabric, and stand 
on an equality with the very best English fabrics." 

The suit worn by President McKinley at his inauguration in 
1897 was made of cloth from the Hockanum Mills Company, and 
George Sykes, president of the company, received from President 
McKinley 's tailor, Henry Koebel, Cleveland, Ohio, this note of 
praise: "I consider the goods as fine in make and finish and as per- 
fect as any English goods which have in the many years of my 
career come under my observation." It took four months to secure 
yarn of desired fineness and quality. 

In 1905 the cloth for the inaugural suits worn by President 
Theodore Roosevelt and Vice-President Fairbanks was made by 
the Springville Manufacturing Company, plain black in color, and 
of a special design of the finest possible quality. 





Previous to the erection of Union Hall on Market Street, in the 
year 1849, there was no public hall of a considerable size in the 
village. A diminutive hall in the Snipsic Block, which the old First 
Congregational Church used as a conference room, was not large 
enough for social purposes. Young people wanted amusement, 
and there was a clamor for a dance hall. 

Jabez Sears, a conscientious businessman, more liberal than 
many of his associates in village affairs, saw the need, and decided 
to build Union Hall. It was built of light wood, and stood on 
stilts, with a meat market on the first floor for revenue, and a 
large room for sociables and dances on the second floor. When 
the proposition was made known there was great excitement. The 
Puritan fathers claimed the movement was inspired by the evil 

Nevertheless, the poisonous shafts of dissent were of no avail 
against the determination of Jabez Sears. The work upon the 
building progressed, and on the Fourth of July, 1849, the first dance 
was held in the crowded hall. 

After the young people had tasted of the sweets of Terpsichore 
they demanded a greater knowledge of the art, and engaged 
Prompter Sibley and Musician Shaw, who soon caused their awk- 
wardness on the wax floor to change to grace. 

"Union Hall" was upon the sign which hung at, the entrance to 
the building. Opposition lost its enthusiasm very soon, and the 
hall in 1850 was rented to the Baptist Society, and in 1855 St. 
Bernard's parishioners held services there, investing it with a spe- 
cial aura. Tolland County Gleaner and Tolland County Leader 
were both printed in this building for a short time. 

Happily, the old Sears Hall began a boom in building opera- 
tions in Rockville which continued for about forty years. The 
meat market on the first floor was sold to Asaph McKinney & Com- 
pany, with a full line of market produce and groceries. 

A young man attended religious services at the Hall one Sun- 
day morning, and on leaving remarked: "Good meeting, but the 
market below smells bad!" 




Three cellars were constructed under the building. The lower 
cellar was used for storage; the second in the manufacture of lard, 
sausages, etc., and the upper one by the bottling establishment of 
Bacon Brothers. The village lock-up was on this floor, and first 
consisted of three small cells. Later a more commodious place of 
detention was constructed in front of this cellar with an entrance 
south of the building itself. 

For several years it was used for dancing and parties. In the 
Fall of 1876 A. W. Phillips leased the rooms and fitted and stocked 
them for a printing office. As an inducement to do this, he was 
awarded the contract for printing the Tolland County Gleaner — 
a little five-column four page paper. An enlargement was made, 
and the Gleaner was sold to Mr. Phillips who afterward sold it with 
office and material to a Mr. Washburn of New York. But after 
a brief stay he returned to New York, and the Gleaner ceased pub- 
lication. The building in 1887 was dedicated as a Salvation Army 
Temple, and now stands unoccupied on Brooklvn Street. 



The second playhouse in Rockville, situated at the corner ol 
Market and Brooklyn Streets, directly opposite the railroad depot, 
was opened on Friday and Saturday evenings, November 12 and 
13, 1869, with two grand dedicatory concerts of instrumental and 
vocal music by Krebb's celebrated concert troupe of Boston. Orig- 
inally the building was the Second Meeting House of Ellington 
in 1806. Cyrus White bought it, took it down, and later moved it 
to Market and Brooklyn Streets in Rockville. 

The building was large and commodious, illuminated with gas 
jets in front, and a large and brilliant reflector near the roof. The 
entrance to the building was up two flights of wide stairs, and the 
interior of the hall presented quite an attractive appearance, the 
walls and ceiling being handsomely frescoed, and lighted with some 
twenty chandeliers and gas burners. The stage was 22 x 30 and 
had four private boxes, with good scenery, footlights, and all the 
necessary paraphernalia for giving theatrical entertainments. The 
hall and gallery were capable of seating 770 persons, and pro- 
vision was made for 200 extra chairs. The size of the hall was 
90 x 48 feet. The gallery had 168 seats. 

A large party came from Hartford on the 6:20 p.m. special 
train to attend the grand opening concert. Governor Jewell and 
the Rev. Mr. Gage, together with other well-known citizens, were 
among the visitors. Governor Jewell occupied one of the private 

It is interesting now to observe the regulations strictly enforced 
— no smoking or tobacco chewing or unnecessary spitting upon 
the floor. No standing or treading upon the seats. No stamping 
except in expressing applause. No whistling or pointing or any 
unseemingly, indecorous or improper conduct were permitted upon 
the floor of the hall. 

The concert was a fine affair, a good programme of both 
vocal and instrumental music having been selected, and a talented 
corps of artists from Boston performed their various parts to the 
great satisfaction of all present. Mrs. Josie Logan, a contralto 
singer with a very sweet voice and exuberant personality, favored 
the audience with several beautiful ballads, and received various 
encores. Professor Wallach, of Boston, performed several fine airs 
on three different harmonicas, imitating a brass band, a violin and 



other musical instruments. The humorous songs of Mr. H. C. Bar- 
nabee were finely rendered, and the performances of Carl and 
Gustav Krebb upon the piano, flute, and clarinet were all excellent. 

At the close of the concert, Governor Jewell was introduced 
by Mr. Cyrus White, and made a few felicitous remarks. He con- 
gratulated the proprietor upon his enterprise in building such a 
magnificent hall — one of the finest in the State, and not to be 
excelled by some of our larger cities. It is a want that the citizens 
of Rockville must appreciate, and he trusted the enterprising pro- 
prietor would be amply remunerated. 

The decorations, carpets, etc., were furnished from the well- 
known house of Talcott & Post, of this city, and the frescoing was 
done by Boston artists. 

"An old school boy," looking back forty-five years, described 
the shows he enjoyed in the Opera House. He wrote of "Uncle 
Tom's Cabin" — the really genuine article, two or three Evas, cer- 
tain blood hounds and jackasses. "I actually got excused from 
school one afternoon to attend the matinee," he wrote. 

He commented on the great usefulness of the Opera House. 
There were Good Samaritan meetings Sunday afternoons, with ad- 
dresses by famous temperance people; lecture courses of a high 
character — Wendell Phillips was on one of the programs. Political 
rallies were stirring. Senator Eaton could march up and down 
that stage, stopping at either end to wave his fists in the air while 
his knees bent under him, and from his thin lips poured forth 
sarcasm, invective or eulogy, as the circumstances demanded. 

School children gave their concerts there, seated on benches 
built upon the stage. The first graduation exercises of the Rock- 
ville High School were held there, most awesomely. The Opera 
House was the entertainment center, the intellectual center of a 
mighty wide-awake community. 

On January 17, 1924, there was a $3,500 blaze in the Opera 
House, which gutted the rear of the building. Thursday's issue of 
the Journal was being printed at the time the fire was discovered, 
at 4 o'clock, and the entire issue was so soaked with water that 
another issue had to be printed Friday morning. The entire build- 
ing was completely destroyed by fire March 20, 1941. 


The Henry Hall, later known as The Henry Opera House, on 
the third floor of the substantial Henry Building in the center of 
the city, was opened to the public on Friday evening, March 5, 
1830. The theater was fitted up in the best style and at great ex- 
pense. The frescoing was done by Whittaker Brothers of Massa- 
chusetts. The design upon the ceiling had for the center of each 
of the four sides full length female figures representing the god- 
desses of Liberty, Justice, Tragedy, and Music. The drop curtain, 
a scene from Venice, was painted by the famous Charles Brandt, 
of New York. The hall was capable of holding about 1,000 people. 
Ushers in formal dress greeted and seated the audience. For sev- 
eral years Tom Adams, Frank Adams, Robert McChristie and 
Walter E. Payne distinguished themselves in this capacity. In 
those days theatres were lighted by gas. The footlights, the stage, 
and all the lights about the house were of gas. 

One of the best theatrical and musical entertainments in the 
country was presented on the opening night — the splendid drama 
"The Unknown," with John A. Stevens supported by twelve star 
actors, after playing a long engagement at Haverly's Theater in 




New York. Gilmore's celebrated orchestra furnished music. The 
admission was 75 cents, reserved seats $1.00 and $1.25, boxes $10.00. 
The receipts were $500. The actors took 60%; Music cost $150. 

For years the theatre entertained the populace with many a 
fine minstrel show and play. It housed many famed actors and 
actresses of the day. The seats are now removed, most of the 
props gone and the play-house is tenanted by spiders instead of 
audiences, but the ancient Opera House still remains in the Henry 
Building. Old billings still cling to the walls, back stage, and the 
dressing rooms contain the pencil-scribbled notations of those who 
played the house years ago. 

A generation after the Henry Opera House had gone out of 
business, a Rockville Journal representative visited the Old Play 
House, and his vivid description of it gives us a picture of its de- 
parted glory. This newsman walked the floors covered with dust 
which had accumulated during the years. He glanced up at the 
roof. The former beautiful ceiling, with its many fine pictures, 
its attractive painting, its splendid workmanship was in ruins. 

To the left and right of the stage he observed the two special 
boxes, where folks of a generation ago, as they sat in the gallery 
or the main floor, some day hoped to sit. The gallery or balcony 
was beautiful, shaped like a horseshoe. 

The Journal representative walked hurriedly across the stage. 
It also was covered with dust. Then looking ahead, he saw what 
he had often heard about — the lithographs of a few of the hun- 
dreds of artists who had played on the Henry stage. After read- 
ing the names, looking at the pictures, reading comments on the 
lithographs, and then looking over the stage once more, it seemed 
to him a pity that the voices which once spoke and sang in Henry 
Hall could not be brought back for a single night. 

The first lithograph was that of Dennian Thompson who ap- 
peared at the Henry House as "Joshua Whitcomb." He had ap- 
peared 250 times in Chicago, 103 times in San Francisco, 13 con- 
secutive weeks in New York City, 4 consecutive weeks in Boston, 
and he appeared June 8, 1881, at Henry Hall. An excellent like- 
ness of Joshua himself was pasted on the wall — a pleasant memory 
of one of America's greatest artists. 

The Henry Opera House was finally condemned because of an 
unsafe balcony. 


That indefatigable reporter, Stephen Von Euw, in the Rock- 
ville Journal of July 9, 1949, entertained readers with quite a list 
of prices of various commodities just before the Civil War. 

Here are some of them: 

Pair ladies' slippers 500 

One pair kid gloves $1.00 

One pair lisle gloves 250 

Neckties 900 

Two shawls $4.50 

A Coat $14.00 

A Cap $1.25 

One pair pants and vests $9.00 

One moleskin hat $4.00 

One parasol $2.25 

Pair of shoes $1.25 

One razor strap and brush 670 

One lb. tea 440 
2 lbs. coffee 400 

2 lbs. raisins 280 
A dozen lemons 180 

3 lbs. butter 600 
Barrel flour $8.25 
Bushel potatoes 620 
Half-gallon molasses 720 
Cake of Yankee soap 120 
Plug tobacco 30 
1 lb. starch 110 

5 lbs. turkey $1.75 

In those days it was considered proper for officials doing offi- 
cial work to have the town pay for their meals. 

Dinners for Board of Relief $1.50 
18 meals for Civil Authority $18.00 

According to Benjamin Ashley of Vernon in the early part of 
the nineteenth century a flip and a sling were indulged in bv very 
respectable people. A flip was a sweetened drink consisting of 
ale, beer, cider, sometimes containing an egg or two, heated, stirred 
with a hot iron to give it a burnt taste. A sling was a gin with 
water, sweetened. 

1000 lbs. coal $5.75 

Two cords of wood $12.50 

8 cords of wood $21.87 

Boarding three months $42,25 
Board, woman and child 
15 weeks $30.00 

Six days' labor, self and boy $27.00 
20% days, horse and cart $60.75 
Labor moving tree $3.00 
Labor 1 day two masons $6.00 
Keeping traveler over night $1.00 

Funerals : 
Fenelon McCollum 

Coffin and hearse $14.00 
Two coffins and two hearses $28.00 
Peter Wendheiser 

Coffin and shroud $12.00 
Cash to two strangers $1.00 
Cash to three tramps at Keeney's 

One gill of brandy — 12 cents 
Brandy, half-gill with rye and 

cheese — 31 cents 
Milk per quart — 5 cents 
Cider, a barrel— $6.00 

Sirloin steak per lb. — 23 cents 
Rib roast per lb. — 20 cents 
Lamb and mutton per lb. — 25 cents 
Pork, per lb. — 20 cents 



Title Page 

The First Congregational Church of Rockville 135 

The Lecture Room 141 

The Second Congregational Church 144 

The Union Congregational Church 147 

Dedication of Carillon Bells in Union Church 154 

The Methodist Episcopal Church of Rockville 156 

Vernon Methodist Church 165 

The Baptist Church 170 

Saint Bernard's Parish 177 

The First Evangelical Lutheran Church 184 

The German Evangelical Lutheran Trinity Church 188 

Saint John's Episcopal Church 190 

The Apostolic Christian Church 194 

Saint Joseph's Church 195 

The First African Baptist Church 198 

B'nai Israel Synagogue 199 

Talcottville Congregational Church 201 

The Salvation Army 204 

First Church of Christ Scientist 206 

Young Men's Christian Association 208 

Jehovah's Witnesses 208 

Unitarians 209 

Spiritualists 209 


Title Page 

The Lecture Room and First Congregational Church 135 

Second Congregational Church 143 

Union Congregational Church 146 

Methodist Episcopal Church 155 

Vernon Methodist Church 164 

The Baptist Church 169 

St. Bernard's Church 176 

St. Bernard's Parochial School 179 

Sacred Heart Church of Vernon 182 

The First Evangelical Lutheran Church 183 

The German Evangelical Lutheran Trinity Church 187 

St. John's Episcopal Church 190 

Saint Joseph's Church 196 

Saint Joseph's Parochial School 196 

B'nai Israel Synagogue 198 

Talcottville Congregational Church 200 

Salvation Army Temple 204 

First Church of Christ, Scientist 206 



The influence of the Rev. Ebenezer Kellogg for many years 
lingered over the sanctuary and transformed the humble meeting 
house at Vernon into a shrine. Quite a number of people living 
in Rockville at that time made their pilgrimage to Vernon to wor- 
ship every Sabbath. Allyn Stanley Kellogg, recalling his childhood 
days, tells of the large number of men who used to pass his father's 
house on foot every Sunday on their way to Meeting House at the 
Center. "One man," he writes, "made the journey on such a lowly 
beast as some of the ancient prophets rode." "But," he adds with 
emphasis, "the most noticeable sight of the day was the large team 
wagon of the Rock Company, with four horses driven by John 
Chapman, Jr., fully loaded with girls from the Rock factory." 

A preliminary step toward the establishment of the first Con- 
gregational Church in Rockville was in the form of a petition 
drafted and signed by fourteen Christian people on November 1, 
1836: "Whereas the population in that part of Vernon lying on the 
Hockanum river between the site now occupied by the Stone Mill 



Company and the site of the Saxony Company already amounts to 
more than 400, and the prospect of an immediate increase from 
occupying the mill privileges on the stream now unoccupied is 
such, and the distance to the Center of the Town being such that 
but few of the population are able to go there statedly on the Sab- 
bath, therefore, 

Resolved, That an Ecclesiastical Society ought to be 
immediately organized in this part of the Town." 

The desire for a place of worship in the village was first ex- 
pressed to the Church at Vernon at a meeting held on the 11th of 
November, 1836, when, according to the records, "a petition was 
made by the several members residing in the north part of the 
Town, for permission to meet and enjoy the ordinances of the 
Gospel by themselves, during the ensuing season." A committee 
consisting of the pastor, and Deacon Flavel Talcott, Messrs. Thomas 
Wright Kellogg, John Chapman and George Kellogg, was ap- 
pointed to consider this petition, and report at a future meeting. 
At a meeting held one week later, the petition was granted. 

No time was lost, and the sponsors of the movement at a 
meeting held on November 30, 1836, pledged their word: 

"We, the subscribers, agree to pay on demand to 
either George Kellogg, Alonzo Bailey or Andrew W. Tracy, 
for the purpose of supporting a minister of the Congre- 
gationalist order, to preach until the first of May, 1837, 
in the conference room recently built by the Rock Manu- 
facturing Company the sums respectively annexed to our 
names. About 65 persons subscribed the sum approxi- 
mately $175." 

At once, Rev. Bennett Tyler, D.D., of East Windsor, began 
the work of preaching to the small group, in December, 1836, and 
the following year Rev. Diodate Brockway, a Yale College and 
Divinity graduate, and minister of Ellington Church for fifty years 
1799-1849 became stated supply. A season of refreshing from the 
Lord followed; many people were soundly converted. A Sabbath 
school of one hundred children was organized under the leader- 
ship of Andrew W. Tracy, "a man always bubbling over with fun 
and good nature without a sour or melancholy spot in him." 
Articles of faith and a covenant were adopted, the ministers of 
Ellington, Coventry, Vernon and Tolland were invited, and meet- 


ing in council on the 26th of October, 1837, duly organized a 
Church to be known as the Second Congregational Church in 
Vernon or the First Congregational Church in Rockville with the 
following members: 

Daniel Chapman, John Cushman, Nehemiah Daniels, Lorinda 
Daniels, Halsey Fuller, Lydia Fuller, Eli Hammond, Sarah Ham- 
mond, Persis Hammond, Allen Hammond, Orra P. Hammond, 
Lucius Hinkley, Laura W. Hinkley, Seth W. Johnson, George Kel- 
logg, Eliza N. Kellogg, Clarissa McLean, Phineas Talcott, Philo- 
mela Talcott, Miner Preston, Louisa J. Porter, Andrew W. Tracy, 
Emeline T. Tracy, Horace Vinton, Rufus West, Lois G. West, 
Nathaniel C. Warren, Simon C. Chapman, Jerusha Chapman, Aus- 
tin McKinney, Amanda McKinney, Taey Stebbins, Edward Hall, 
Charles H. Merrick, Mary Ann Merrick, Rufus F. Fay, Margaret 
M. Fay, Horace Thompson, Roena T. Thompson. 

On March 14, 1837, a meeting was held to decide "whether 
the Society will do anything about building a Meeting House or 
not." It was decided by ten yeas and two nays. George Kellogg, 
Alonzo Bailey, and Phineas Talcott were appointed a committee 
to do five things: to solicit subscriptions — a delightful task; to 
secure a site; to affix a stake; to procure a plan, and to make an 
estimate of the probable expense of the Meeting House. 

With commendable eagerness the committee went forth, and 
two days later, March 16, 1837, reported that "the spot of ground 
on the Hill immediately east of the Lecture Room is the only 
proper one on which the Meeting House should be erected, there- 
fore they have affixed there a stake." 

But enthusiasm waned, hope began to flicker and fail, and the 
building project was delayed. Then at a meeting on December 
26, 1837, flying their little flag of cheerful courage, the committee 
on ways and means introduced a financial plan, which was adopted, 
whereby the necessary $4,500 would be raised before the first of 
April, 1838, each subscriber to pay his amount in five equal install- 
ments, the first on April 1, 1838, and the rest at intervals of three 
months. Thus at last, after many discouragements, the Meeting 
House of the First Congregational Church in Rockville was built 
by Wm. T. Cogswell on the site of our present Memorial Town 
Hall at a cost of $4,500, raised by voluntary subscriptions. 

The First Congregational Church of Rockville, following the 
example of our Lord, called twelve leaders, but without a Judas. 
Just as one star differeth from another star in glory, so one min- 


ister differeth from another minister in temperament, gifts, and 
personality. And among the ministers of the First Church there 
were diversities of gifts. There had been two years of planting 
by ministers Tyler and Brockway when Rev. Ansel Nash began 
his ministry here in 1839, at a salary of $600 per annum. A grad- 
uate of Williams College and Andover Seminary — a good prepara- 
tion for the ministry — he was installed on the 30th of January, 
1839, but as early as July, 1841, the pastoral relationship was dis- 
solved. Conscious of failure, Mr. Nash at the end of the first year 
proposed to relinquish one hundred dollars of his stipulated salary 
for the current year, and the church actually accepted his offer, 
but at the end of the second year, to save further embarrassment, 
a committee appointed to smooth out the path of his ambition took 
him up into a high mountain, showed him the glory of the larger 
world, and pointed to a bountiful harvest then waiting for laborers 
in the fields. And as the shepherd reads the sky, so Mr. Nash in- 
terpreted the sign, and left. 

On the 21st September, 1842, the church decided "to hire 
the Rev. Augustus Pomeroy to supply the desk to the first of 
April next at $600 a year." He, too, was a graduate of Williams 
and Andover, and he, too, stayed only two years. 

Then came to the church in the year 1845 the man for the 
hour — Rev. Horace Winslow — a man best described by Uncle 
George M. Brown, a Rockville institution of four-score years ago, 
as "a hustler and a right smart Gospel preacher." Horace Winslow 
was installed in October, and in the following spring a revival 
swept the village, sinners forsook the seat of the scornful, and a 
large number united with the church. Things began to happen. 
The Meeting House was enlarged; side seats in the galleries were 
added at a cost of $1500; an excavation was made under the 
church for the installation of a furnace; the outside of the Lecture 
Room was painted; the unsightly horse-sheds were removed; the 
first pipe organ in a Rockville church was purchased at a bargain 
price from John W. Thayer. John Newton Stickney, a stockholder 
and director of the Florence and Carlisle Mills, which both failed, 
was for twelve years the faithful organist, serving without pay. 

Mr. Winslow was a community man. He was interested also in 
the people outside the church. He contributed to the beauty of the 
church surroundings. Before he had really unpacked his private 
library of books, he proposed to the members that the approach to 
the church be made more attractive. As a result of his efforts, 


trees were planted, the land was graded, two fountains were erect- 
ed, and the general appearance of the village was materially im- 

He made for himself a good reputation by organizing a Cold 
Water Army among the children. Mrs. Mary Brigham, now of 
sacred memory, often recalled with fondness that institution. Oc- 
casionally on public holidays the Army would parade the streets 
headed by the old fifers and drummers, singing the temperance 
songs they had learned under the leadership of Rev. Horace 
Winslow. Mrs. Brigham, by the way, lived to the remarkable age 
of 101. 

Popular though he was, bringing the church membership to 
246, Rev. Horace Winslow did not please all his parishioners. He 
owned the best horses in Rockville. Others had fine horses, but 
somebody spoke for everybody when he remarked: "Horace never 
took anybody's dust." Rev. Henry Ward Beecher would have 
commended his good sense. "If you want to size up a community," 
said the great preacher, "look at the horses. If they are slow or 
ill-fed, get out of that community as fast as you can." Such was 
his counsel to all candidates for country churches. But some Con- 
gregationalists in Rockville did not exactly like the sight of their 
minister driving like Jehu of Old Testament fame and they rebuked 

George Brown reminiscently reminds us: "Anyone taking Sun- 
day papers in Rockville in 1845 would have been called crazy. It 
was 'Read and study the good old Family Bible,' and it was 'Go to 
church every Sunday.' If the factory employee did not go to 
church Sunday he or she would get a lecture from the agent Mon- 
day morning. The men who shaped the affairs of the town and 
conducted the mills were very strict on the question of Sabbath 
observance. There were morning, afternoon and evening services 
and Sabbath School and Thursday evening prayer meeting." 

Dark days followed for the church. True, it did seem quite 
appropriate that the next minister's name should be Ray — Rev. 
John W. Ray. My good friend, Phineas Talcott, was the authority 
for the statement that one night in Meeting the lights went out 
while Rev. John Ray was preaching, and the minister, rising splen- 
didly to the occasion, announced: "There is still a Ray left." But 
even that ray was soon extinguished. A Dartmouth graduate, 
teacher in Academy and Normal School, he had difficulty in lead- 
ing the congregation into the higher life of faith. There was gen- 


eral confusion. The church was compelled to secure a loan of 
$2500, the bass viol of the society was lost, many members with- 
drew, and were very emphatic about their withdrawal. 

Into this deplorable condition came Rev. Smith Bartlett 
Goodenow, a man from Maine and a graduate of Bowdoin College. 
But he resigned after only one year because of "pecuniary embar- 
rassment." His salary was $1000 (when he received it), and the 
annual report showed a declining church with a membership of 
only 118. 

As welcome as sunshine after rain was the ministry of Rev. 
Avery Skinner Walker, who was installed in 1861, and actually 
stayed three years. Conditions began to improve, even organist 
Fisk was paid $50 for the year and Chorister Pinney the same 
amount, though the Society went on record at that time: "The So- 
ciety deem it inexpedient to pay any money for similar services ren- 
dered hereafter." These brief pastorates continued, and under 
such conditions the church could not prosper. The real need of 
the church was longer pastorates. 

In the year 1866 Rev. Henry Sylvester Kelsey, graduate of 
Amherst College and Union Seminary, then teacher of mathematics 
and later a professor of mathematics, natural philosophy and as- 
tronomy in Wisconsin, came to the First Church. He had no dif- 
ficulty in finding trouble. Early in his ministry of two years, he 
invested money in a local enterprise, and lost it. He denounced 
some as belonging to a den of thieves, and that statement created 
more dissension. 

Like manna sent from heaven was the coming to Rockville of 
Rev. Egbert Byron Bingham in 1871. His ministry of seven years 
gave a new lease of life to the church. Born in Scotland, Con- 
necticut, he was blessed with rare intellectual powers. He was 
unassuming in his bearing and strong in character. His mind was 
as clear as crystal and as ordered as the stars. He became one of 
the editors of the Yale Literary Magazine, a member of the Yale 
Glee Club, and because of his superior scholarship was accepted 
into the select circle of the Skull and Bones Society. In elocution 
he outranked his entire class and at graduation in a class of 160 
was accorded a "First Oration," an honor then bestowed only upon 
the four class members of the highest general standing. 

Serious throat trouble was the beginning of the broken health 
which cast a deep shadow over his later life. In addition to his 
own personal affliction, he was called upon to pass through the 


fiery furnace of domestic tribulation while in Rockville, through 
the loss of his wife, who died at the age of 28 years, leaving an in- 
fant daughter. A very tender resolution of sympathy is spread 
upon the records of the First Church in the year of 1874. Mr. 
Bingham made many friends in the community, and created a new 
interest in the church. During his ministry extensive repairs were 
made on the building, and the kind offer of the Methodist Church 
of their facilities was accepted with gratitude. 

The eleventh minister was Rev. J. W. Backus, 1879-1883. A 
quiet, conscientious worker and pastor, he won his way into the 
hearts of his people. Aside from his academic training, it is known 
that Mr. Backus had private tuition in the art of preaching, his 
wife being the dear professor. And those who sat under his min- 
istrations and enjoyed his discourses claim that his best sermons 
were preached when his wife happened to be absent from the serv- 
ice. The church profited by his gracious and thoughful ministry, 
and on his departure after four years placed on record this testi- 
mony: "For nearly five years Mr. Backus has ministered unto us 
earnestly and acceptably, and our best wishes will follow him to 
his new field of labor in Plain ville, Connecticut." 

Last but not least of the ministers in the First Church was 
Rev. Charles H. Ricketts, who became pastor in 1884, remained 
until the church was merged into Union Church in 1888, and 
served the new organization until May, 1889. It is worthy of 
note that on October 30, 1887, Mr. Ricketts preached the sermon 
on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the First Church and 
twenty-five years later preached the sermon at the celebration of 
the 75th anniversary of the same church. That is unique. 


In 1826, Mr. George Kellogg and Mr. Ralph Talcott of the 
Rock Company saw the necessity of a church in Rockville. The 
proposition was treated by many with indignation, and Mr. Kel- 
logg was abused for his benevolence toward the people in this 
part of the town, and was accused of malice toward the church in 
Vernon, to which he belonged. 

But, notwithstanding all this, the building since known as the 
Snipsic Block was built in 1836 and was called the lecture room. 
Preaching began as soon as it was completed, and continued every 
Sunday until the First Church was dedicated June 29, 1839. The 
upper floor was used exclusively for Sunday services, the pulpit 


being at the north and the choir on a raised platform at the other 
end. In the rear room of the rirst floor was established in 1836-7 
the first district school of Rockville. The front room was used as a 
shoe shop, but for years was unoccupied. In 1843, during a shower, 
lightning came down the chimney and followed the stove pipe 
down through the floor under the stove, into the schoolroom beiow, 
tearing up the floor, shivering the timbers in the cellar and doing 
slight damage in many places, mostly on the first floor. About 60 
persons were in the upper room holding a singing school, which 
broke up in confusion, but no one was injured. 

It continued to be the lecture room, in which occasional re- 
ligious services were held until 1848, when the Second Church 
was built, and was also used for a high school during week days 
till the brick school house was built in the same year as the Second 

The room was next occupied by Webb & Wells, job printers 
and publishers of the Tolland County Gazette, the first newspaper 
ever published in Rockville. The paper had a life of a few years 
only, and when U. S. Treasurer Gilfillan started the Republican in 
Doane's Block, the room was made over into a tailor's shop. 

Downstairs, Drs. Friselle and Dewing had an office and drug 
store which was afterwards sold to Dr. Wilson. The west store 
was occupied by H. W. Coye as a music store and watch-repair- 
ing establishment. Coye was succeeded by Skinner and Plimpton, 
who bought out Wm. H. Cogswell's stock and fixtures and started 
a drug store. 

Readers will be interested to learn that this lecture room, 
originally located on the site of the present Henry Building, is now 
the home of Mr. William Wheelock at 206 East Main Street, on 
the south side of the street adjacent to the Minterburn Mill office. 
Here the father, William Henry Wheelock, aged 84 years, has 
lived for nearly half a century. 

The present home, a part of the property of M. T. Stevens 
Company acquired from the Hockanum Company, was purchased 
by Mr. Wm. Wheelock in 1947. Massive hand-hewn beams in the 
structure, pegged and sturdily joined together, disclose the age of 
the building. 

On the north side of the same street at No. 181 there stood 
for many years prior to 1934 another historic structure. It was a 
square brick building, two stories, which originally was a tavern 
patronized and popularized by travelers through the town and 



considered a landmark by distinguished persons who called here 
en route to the eastern section of the county. 

The original brick tavern building was torn down in 1934 and 
the cellar and foundation filled in. Then the present frame build- 
ing of approximately the same size and on the identical site was 
erected, and is now occupied by George May's plumbing and 
heating establishment. 



It was in the enthusiastic days of Rev. Horace Winslow that 
the Second Congregational Church of Rockville was formed. The 
first church was growing rapidly, and expansion was the constant 
cry. The community was growing, too. The village had become 
a town of 2000 people. Moreover, for half a century it was fash- 
ionable to build more churches. If a group of people did not like 
the minister or the minister did not like the members or the mem- 
bers did not like one another, another church was built. 

To meet the growing demands of the Congregational Parish a 
Second Church was organized on February 22, 1849, with 48 mem- 
bers — 29 from the First Church and 19 from elsewhere. The house 
of worship, which stood on the site of the present Union Church, 
was a New England Meeting House of the noblest style of archi- 
tecture, with Ionic portico, and a steeple 145 feet high. It was 
built in 1848 and dedicated in 1849. Six ministers, a noble band 
of men whose hearts God had touched, served the church during 
the forty years of its existence. 

Rev. Andrew Sharpe was installed on September 26, 1849, and 
was dismissed on December 2, 1851. In those two years fifty per- 
sons united with the church, among them E. C. Bissell, a weaver 
in the Rock Mill, who later became a professor in Hartford The- 
ological Seminary. During this period, the labors of evangelist 
John D. Potter had a mighty influence upon the people. 

Rev. Charles Henry Bullard's ministry, 1852-1857, was pro- 
foundly strengthened by the evangelistic fervor which then pre- 
vailed, and he received into the church one hundred and four 
persons on confession of faith. He left Rockville to become the 
agent of the American Tract Society of Connecticut. 

Rev. Charles Wells Clapp, 1857-1864, was highly esteemed by 
the community. He was a man of culture — as much at home with 
an erudite professor as with an unlettered teamster. At the close 
of his ministry here, he became a professor in a western college. 

Rev. Asa S. Fiske, 1865-1871, had remarkable success. He ac- 
tually received into the church 231 members. He possessed a 
great tact in the management of the parish affairs. His persistent 
efforts brought an increasing number to the Sabbath evening serv- 
ices. He was a good preacher, democratic, and full of humor. 



Like Winslow, of the First Church, he was very fond of horses — 
the faster they ran the better he liked them. However, some mem- 
bers of the congregation did not approve of this particular activity. 
And the fact that the minister's wife rode horseback did not im- 
prove the situation. Still, he was admired by the parish for his 
untiring zeal in the work of the church. 

Rev. Henry F. Hyde started his pastorate July 5, 1872, and 
after eight years of faithful service died here. His monument 
stands in Grove Hill cemetery. He won the hearts of the young 
people. Advanced in his ideas of an institutional church, he con- 
structed a stage with footlights for the presentation of plays by 
the young people in the basement of the church. His printed book 
of sermons bears witness to his superior intelligence. His minis- 
terial brethren loved him. In his sickness one of them stood at his 
bedside almost daily, and others in the county supplied his pulpit 
that his salary might be continued for the support of his family. In 
a sermon preached at the Methodist Church on June 20, 1880, Dr. 
Hutchins, of Columbus, Ohio, one of Mr. Hyde's former comrades, 
said of him: "He was the most brilliant scholar the Academy ever 
produced and probably the most brilliant one the town of East 
Killingly ever had." 

Rev. Samuel B. Forbes, 1881-1888, was the last minister of the 
Second Church. He was an elderly man and very kindly disposed; 
tall and dignified, and blessed with a rich mellow voice. He was 
deeply interested in the subject of temperance — an interest that 
led him to seek, unsuccessfully, the Governorship of the State. He 
was nominated at the Prohibitory Convention in Hartford July 28, 
1886. It is safe to say that his strong interest in temperance and 
his wife's appointment as State President of the W.C.T.U. did not 
permit the subject to be forgotten entirely on Sundays at the Sec- 
ond Congregational Church. He lived to be over 90 years of age. 

The First Congregational Church was moved to the south side 
of the canal, and turned around to face Central Park. Finally, the 
building was sold under the hammer. The eloquent auctioneer, 
S. J. Ryan, had difficulty in disposing of it. Nobody desired to 
invest in a church. Crossley Fitton bought it for $100, and later 
sold it for $125 to George Arnold who promptly tore it down. He 
sold the pews for $1.00 each. 





In the year 1888, events of far-reaching significance stirred the 
entire community. Big headlines in the Rockville Journal on Fri- 
day, March 16, announced "The Great Storm of 1888 — Tremen- 
dous Fall of Snow — Drifts Twelve to Fifteen Feet High." The 
greatest snowstorm in the memory of the oldest man living com- 
menced Sunday evening, March 11, and raged with unabated fury 
throughout Monday and Tuesday. Traffic was blocked, the wheels 
of industry were stopped, communication with the outside world 
was cut off. Fortunately, there was no loss of life, thoueh there 
was a milk famine. Sixty-seven years of storm and sunshine have 
passed since that occurrence, but we still frequently hear of the 
blizzard of 1888. 

Three weeks after that startling phenomenon, on Monday 
night, April 2, inhabitants of the village were suddenly roused from 
their slumber when watchman Griswold of the Rock Mill struck 
the mill bell and the cry of "Fire" rang out in the midnight still- 
ness. It was exactly 12:25, and the Second Congregational Church, 
in the heart of the village, was in flames. The steeple fell just 
before 1 a.m., toppling over into Union Street, turning somersault 
and falling with the vane on the sidewalk next to the church. At 
2:10, the fire chief telegraphed Hartford for assistance, but help 
did not arrive in Rockville until 4:30. The church, the hardware 
store beneath, and the skating rink of the Fitch Block adjoining 
the church were then in ruins. 

It appears that thoughts of consolidating the First and Second 
Congregational Churches had been cherished for some time by the 
First Church, but members of the Second Church were not en- 
thusiastic over the proposal, and voted against such a union. On 
March 30, 1888, the First Church sold their lot for a handsome 
price to the Town of Vernon to be used as a site for the Memorial 
Hall building. Five days later, the Second Church was destroyed 
by fire. 

These bewildering circumstances opened the way to a wiser 
understanding on the part of both church groups. Some of the 
saints asked, "Is not the finger of God in this calamity?" Others 
saw in the event retribution, and brought the fate of Sodom and 
Gomorrah uncomfortably near. Still others there were who sought 
to dissipate the gloom by the cheerio technique, claiming that it 



was clearlv out of order to weep copiously over such a little matter 
— a kind Providence would take care of that. 

'With a s;ood decree of unanimity, therefore, the two societies 
reached these conclusions: 

"Whereas on the morning of April 3, 1888, the Second 
Congregational Church edifice was totally destroyed by 
fire, and 

"Whereas the land upon which stands the First Con- 
gregational Church edifice and chapel has been sold and 
conveyed to the Town of Vernon as a site for the proposed 
Memorial Hall, thus rendering both ecclesiastical societies 
practicallv without houses of worship, and 

"Whereas the two Congregational churches believe 
that the time has come when these two churches should 
be united into one church organization 


"Resolved that we do hereby unite to form a religious 
society to be known as the Union Ecclesiastical Society 
of Rockville, Connecticut."' 

In attempting to chart the way we have come, we ought to 
state that just as the year of 1888 will be remembered as the year 
of destruction so the year of 1889 will be recognized as the year of 
reconstruction and progress. In that year the village became a 
citv. At a special town meeting called to decide the issue, 1090 
ballots were cast — 963 yes and 127 no — and the citv form of govern- 
ment was adopted. 

Earlv in 1889, the First Congregational Church building was 
moved over the canal to the south side of Main Street, where the 
united churches held their services. In that fellowship of 411 were 
189 members from the First Church and 222 members from the 
Second Church. Rev. Charles H. Ricketts shepherded the flock 
until May, 1889. On September 26, 1889, sixty-three years ago, 
Rev. James Dingwell accepted the call and became the first min- 
ister of Union Congregational Church of Rockville, Connecticut. 

Several months before the arrival of the minister, the congre- 
gation had decided to build a new and commodious church for an 
amount not to exceed $40,000. A building committee was ap- 
pointed consisting of Messrs. John G. Bailey, George Sykes, Cross- 
ley Fitton, George M. Paulk, and Dr. E. K. Leonard. Plans and 


specifications submitted by Warren H. Hayes, Minneapolis, were 
accepted. The original plan to build a brick church with brown 
stone trimmings was changed, and at an extra cost of $6,000 the 
church was built of two shades of Monson granite. The total cost 
of this beautiful sanctuary, which is increasingly admired, was 

We were interested on reading the building committee's re- 
port to find this: 

The building committee is pleased that no accident 
has occurred except the sad one by which two worthy 
men lost their lives. We exonerate all from any blame in 
the matter, as all staging was constructed in the most sub- 
stantial manner. 

The corner stone of Union Church was laid on June 8, 1839, 
with appropriate exercises. Rev. Samuel B. Forbes, the retiring 
minister of the Second Church, gave the address. 

Now here is a glimpse at Union Church in the first year of 
its activities. The average church attendance for the vear 1889 
was 410. People went to church regularly in those davs. The 
Sunday School, with Mr. S. Tracy Noble as first superintendent, 
and four assistants, Frederick Gilnack, Luther H. Fuller, Abigail 
Martin and Hattie E. Durfee, had an average attendance which 
equalled the days of the year, 365; the average attendance at 
Christian Endeavor meetings held at five o'clock on Sundav eve- 
nings was sixty. The Thursday evening prayer meeting was an 
inspiring institution. All business of the church was transacted at 
the close of these exercises. The report for the vear shows that the 
largest attendance at the prayer meetings was 120, the smallest 
21 ( stormy night ) , with an average attendance of sixty. After 
giving these figures the clerk adds this spicy comment — "This 
seems a small number for our membership." Mark that — an av- 
erage attendance of sixty at the weekly prayer meeting a small 
number for their membership! In these davs when we have drifted 
from firm anchorage how strange that report sounds! 

On Sunday evening, September 14, 1890, a farewell service 
was held in the old Church. Deacon George Maxwell read a 
paper, punctuated with the warm accents of a glowing sincerity. 
At the close of a fine tribute to the work accomplished bv people 
and pastors during the forty years past, he said: 


"We may thank God that He has given us so goodly 
an array of ministers. On the night of April 2, 1888, we 
bade farewell to the Second Church as it went from us in 
flames of fire. Here tonight in a more peaceful way, we 
part with this older church. As we go hence to a more 
beautiful house of worship, let us ask God's presence to 
abide within that new temple." 

The dedication of this noble edifice took place on Thursday, 
September 18, 1890. On the previous evening, the talented friend, 
Mr. William C. Hammond, gave an organ recital before a large 
audience. The dedication sermon was preached by Rev. E. A. 
Reed, of Holyoke, Massachusetts, from Psalm cxxii, 1, "I was glad 
when they said unto me, 'Let us go into the house of the Lord.' " 
The church clerk made this comment on the sermon and the 
preacher: "Just one half -hour was occupied in its delivery, and 
we made no mistake in inviting him as the preacher." And I like 
this illuminating word about the reading of the scripture: "The 
scriptural reading was impressively rendered by Rev. James Ding- 
well." It is estimated that 1400 people attended the exercises, 
about one hundred chairs being added to the seating capacity, 
besides which many stood. 

In reply to a question asked by the minister during the dedi- 
cation services concerning the financial obligations incurred by 
the building of the new church, Dr. Dickinson, representing the 
building committee, stated that there would be no encumbrance 
upon the church. A church that cost $72,000 had no debt! The 
spirit of benevolence which has enriched Union Church through 
the years, and is still manifesting itself, poured forth its treasures 
sixty-three years ago, with no desire for publicity or praise, but 
simply a deep love for the church and humanity. Rev. James 
Dingwell resigned the pastorate August 29, 1895, after six years 
of active service. He was an able leader and an excellent preacher. 

Rev. Charles E. McKinley was installed pastor of Union Church 
on Wednesday, September 16, 1896. By his sweetness and strength, 
his profound piety and wide charity, he carried forward the large 
work of the church with marked success. The membership when 
he began was 496; when he closed his ministry in 1911 it was 588. 

During his ministry the Maxwell Free Reading Rooms were 
opened. The fund was given by George Maxwell and members 
of the Maxwell family. In 1898, the Men's Union was organized 


to take charge of the Sunday evening meetings and to develop the 
social life of the church. The Sunday School was one of the largest 
in the State, and the Christian Endeavor Society, aided by an or- 
chestra, attracted an average attendance of two hundred persons, 
young and old. 

In 1904, at a largely attended prayer meeting, the matter of 
securing an individual communion service was introduced. Pastor 
McKinley discussed reasons for and against the change. Seven 
ballots were cast. Mrs. Harriet K. Maxwell gave the set on the 
occasion of her eightieth birthday, a set of eight silver offering 
plates and a communion set with individual cups. 

After standing firmly and faithfully at the church helm for 
fifteen years, Rev. Charles E. McKinley resigned on June 27, 1911, 
and for about a year the church was without a regular pastor. 
Then came Rev. Percy E. Thomas, who accepted the call and began 
his work here on Sunday, September 8, 1912. He found the church 
thoroughly organized and recently renovated, a rebuilt organ, a 
host of workers, and not a ripple of dissension. 

Under the leadership of Mr. Thomas, Union Church grew in 
number and influence. He was a man's man, perfectly at home 
in any kind of party with men. It was good to see him at the 
annual picnic of the Men's Union, or at the bowling alley, or on the 
golf course. During the nine years of his ministry in Rockville, the 
church became not only a religious center but a big social family- 
There were many banquets. The Ladies' Aid Society raised in one 
year the sum of $576.25. The Bible School recognized the twenty- 
five years of faithful service rendered by Mr. Luther Fuller as 
superintendent with a gift of $1,000. 

Endowed with great gifts, Mr. Thomas attracted people of all 
creeds to church. His oratorical powers, his choice of subjects, and 
his dramatic ability made the Sunday evening meetings more pop- 
ular than ever before. Outside the church, he rendered splendid 
service in the community, especially in the period of the World 
War. Within the church he put everybody to work, ushers, dea- 
cons, all societies, and when he resigned on May 12, 1921, the 
membership had reached the total of 728. The entire church and 
the whole community regretted his departure when he accepted 
the call to the Congregational Church at Lowell, Massachusetts. 

On Sunday, March 19, 1922, Rev. Thomas Pace Haig began 
his ministry in Union Church. He soon revealed his ability as a 
deep thinker, a theologian, and a good sermonizer. His pleasing 


personality appealed strongly to the young people. The church 
school under his administration made good progress, and graciously 
sent Superintendent Fuller to the International Sunday School 
Convention held in Scotland in 1924. 

A Go-to-Church movement was organized, and a junior sermon 
became a feature of the morning service. The congregation rallied 
around the standard to reduce the $7,500 debt of 1922 to $900. 
True, his stay in Union Church was brief, but the influence of his 
Christian character, his love of truth, and his strict integrity abides. 

Rev. George S. Brookes accepted the call in November, 1925, 
and served Union Church for twenty years, the longest pastorate 
in its history. Notable events included visits of Dr. Wilfred Gren- 
fell, of Labrador, and Miss Helen Keller; a celebration of the 
tenth anniversary of Dr. Brookes' pastorate, expressed in the rais- 
ing of $10,426 to meet emergency financial needs of the church; 
dedication of the carillon bells in 1934, the gift of Miss Ellen O'Neal; 
the sending of three young men of the church into the ministry — 
Milton Liebe, Raymond Fiedler and Kenneth Brookes; the gener- 
ous gift by Mrs. Florence P. Maxwell of a parsonage situated at 
the corner of North Park and Prospect Streets; and the building 
up through the years of an Endowment Fund, which was greatly 
encouraged by the noble Maxwell family. 

On Friday, January 14, 1938, Mr. Luther H. Fuller, senior dea- 
con and superintendent emeritus of the church school, quietly de- 
parted for the House of Many Mansions after an association of 
73 years. Union Church never had a more loyal and devoted 

Rev. Forrest Musser began his ministry here in January, 1946. 
With a growing population and an intense interest in church and 
community, Mr. Musser has built up a wonderful organization. In 
1950 the membership grew beyond the 1000 mark; a parish com- 
mittee of 120 active members, doing laymen's work in the church, 
is doing a splendid work; a Women's Guild of five circles, in which 
every woman in the fellowship is a member, is rendering a noble 
service. The pastor is deeply interested in "Alcoholics Anonvmous." 
He is a member of the Connecticut Water Color Society and Spring- 
field Art League, and his large mural picture of the Lord's Supper, 
used to illustrate his sermon topic, attracted wide attention. 

Two fires in three years caused much damage to the prop- 
erty, one in the balcony in 1948 and the other in the kitchen in 


1951, but redecorations in the church and social rooms quickly fol- 

On account of a fast growing membership Union Congre- 
gational Church expanded her program in the year 1947 by calling 
Mrs. Michael L. Vetrano as an Associate in Religious Education. 
Mrs. Vetrano had a good background of experience in church work 
and YWCA work, receiving her training at the Hartford Seminary 
Foundation. Mrs. Vetrano served the church for seven years and 
under her leadership the Church School and Pilgrim Fellowship 
greatly increased in membership and effectiveness. Many improve- 
ments were made in church school equipment and the east wing 
of the parsonage was converted into a parish house to care for 
the pre-school age. In July, 1954, Mrs. Vetrano accepted a call 
to a similar position in the South Congregational Church of Hart- 

Miss Antoinette Bierce from the Bunker Hill Congregational 
Church of Waterbury, a graduate of Schauffler College, took up 
her work as Director of Religious Education at Union Congrega- 
tional Church on October 15, 1954. 





Sunday Afternoon, October 21, 1934 

Four o'Clock 


PROCESSIONAL HYMN "Onward Christian Soldiers" 



ADDRESS Rev. Charles E. McKinley, D.D. 


HYMN "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty" 


POSTLUDE Carillon Bells, played by 

Mr. Melvin C. Corbett of 
Darien, Connecticut 


These Carillon Bells 
were the gift of the late 

to Union Church 

in memory of her sister 


and husband 


Devoted Friends of the Church 

Installed October, 1934 





The history of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Rockville 
divides itself naturally into four periods: 1 — the period of prayer 
meetings at the homes of brethren; 2 — the building of a small 
church on West Street; 3 — the period of worship on West Main 
Street; 4 — the erection of the present brick Church. 

Before Rockville had even selected a name for itself, and thirty 
years before any local newspaper had appeared, and the Hartford 
Courant had not yet become a daily paper, a few Methodists on 
fire with the Kingdom came together in 1833 for seasons of prayer 
and fellowship at the home of Ishmael Jackson, whose home stood 
back of West Street, below the Hockanum Mill, and opposite the 
old blacksmith's shop, where boys watched oxen and horses shod 
in a very primitive fashion. 

Rev. Ezra Withey, a veteran minister who lived at New Lon- 
don, tells of preaching in Rockville factories in the year 1833, and 
in the Fall of 1834 the first class was formed; the members of the 
class — Ishmael Jackson and his wife Sarah and Thaddeus Bruce 
and Sylvia his wife. Four persons joined hands and hearts to estab- 
lish that system of religion which they preferred. In that first 
class meeting some were present who were not Methodists, and 
there is a tradition that two or three gave themselves to God that 
very evening. This was the first ecclesiastical society in Rockville. 

Among the reminiscences of Rev. Ezra Withey is this interest- 
ing note: 

"I preached in Rockville factories on the text, 'What 
must I do to be saved?' Acts 16:30. I had hard work to 
get hay for my horse, and started for Brother Phineas 
Grover's Square Pond, early in the morning. There I had 
a plenty for my horse and food for myself, and rested all 
day and over night. The Methodist preachers in those 
days were none too well cared for. Mr. Pierce says that 
his colleague, Mr. Cushing, who preached in the Tolland 
part of the circuit, had to resort to teaching school to keep 
his wife and himself from going hungry." 

The itinerant wheels take strange turns. Preachers appointed 
in 1834 to the Tolland and Stafford Circuit, which included El- 
lington and Vernon, were Stephen Cushing, Ezra Withey, and 



Lozien Pierce. Harry Torbush, a local preacher and a dentist, 
was sent to East Windsor Circuit in 1830, with Windsor Ward, 
Edmund A. Standish and Elam Chaplin as colleagues. Rockville 
was included in the territory visited by these itinerants. Torbush 
writes of a revival at Dobson's Mills in the winter of 1836, and pays 
great tribute to "Father" Thaddeus C. Bruce, the keeper of the 
turnpike toll-gate, who was always seen in the thickest of the bat- 
tle as one of his helpers. Torbush adds this tiny note — "We hold 
our meetings in Rockville at 5 p.m. in the summer and 6 o'clock 
in the winter, followed by class meetings after preaching." 

In 1838, Elam Chaplin, a local preacher and a spoon maker 
working in Hartford and living in East Hartford, was employed to 
come out to Rockville and preach in the schoolhouse on Sundays. 
He continued thus to supply for two years. And for his labors 
they paid him the microscopic salary of $8.00 per month. In 1840 
for the first time Vernon appears on the list of official appoint- 
ments with Benjamin M. Walker and Caleb D. Rogers as preach- 
ers. They alternated in their labors. In the year 1842 a young 
student, Lansom B. Clark, supplied the church, and during the 
one year of his ministry a big tent was put up on the lot where 
later the Opera House was erected on Brooklyn Street. However, 
for several years meetings were held at the home of the Grants 
and in the Grant schoolhouse. The record of Rev. R. W. Allen 
states: "In 1843 I was appointed to the New London District as 
presiding elder and found a small company of devout Methodists 
in Rockville worshipping in a little old dingy schoolhouse." Broth- 
er A. F. Park, later a lawyer in Norwich, supplied the society in 
1844-45. These prayer and fellowship meetings, conducted by the 
brethren in turn, were characterized by great religious earnestness 
and devotion. 

Then came the second epoch in the history of Methodism in 
Rockville. In spite of all the discouragements, they erected a 
church building on West Street on or near the present Polish pa- 
rochial school, with appropriate exercises in May, 1847. It was a 
small wooden frame building. The land had been given to the 
Methodist Society by a Congregational brother. Rev. William W. 
Hurd was pastor at the time of the dedication. The one-story 
schoolhouse had become dilapidated, was used as a soap factory 
and later as a common barn. 

Rev. William Hurd was a very enthusiastic pastor. He had 
notions of his own. He introduced the violin and bass viol into 


the service of music, and though some members thought such in- 
struments were out of place in the church, the choir persisted in 
their use. By a kind providence a Rev. Anthony Palmer was next 
sent by the Conference in 1850. He was gifted with a wonderful 
voice, and his geniality won the hearts of all the people. There 
was no further trouble with the music. Rev. L. W. Blood, 1851, 
and Rev. W. S. Simmons, 1853, had short pastorates. 

In the year 1854-5 George W. Brewster served as pastor, and 
his own words tell a remarkable story of courage and determina- 
tion in a period of trouble. 

"Late in the autumn or early in the winter of 1854, 
the little church was burned on a Sunday morning. While 
it was burning I secured a small hall (located where the 
Rockville Journal later stood) and gave notice of preach- 
ing in the evening. So we lost but one preaching service 
by the fire." 

Thus ended the second epoch. 

The third epoch began with the purchase of the church on 
West Main Street, which had been used by the Baptist Society 
and was built by them. It is now the First Evangelical Lutheran 
Church. The following ministers served in this period: Rev. W. D. 
Cady, Rev. G. W. Wooding, Rev. G. Morse, Rev. G. S. Sanford, 
Rev. Robert Parsons, John Lovejoy, and Rev. E. Benton. The 
Methodists were restless and dissatisfied. They had a vision of a 
larger church. They worshipped there ten years until it was voted 
February 26, 1866, to build a church on the ground owned by the 
Leeds Company and later purchased by Messrs. White and Corbin. 

The fourth epoch in the history of local Methodism begins with 
the vote in 1866 to build the present church. The dedication of 
this church, the most important event in the history of the fellow- 
ship, was on Tuesday, November 26, 1867, two days after the 
dedication of St. Bernard's Church on the Terrace. Rev. J. W. 
Willett was minister at the time of the dedication. 

The records of the church show the sentiment of the people 
in leaving the old church for the new: 

"Last Sunday evening, November 24, 1867, was an 
occasion of more than ordinary interest to the Methodist 
Church of this village. At that time, they held their last 
service in the old church. Heartfelt thanks were present- 


ed to Almighty God for blessings bestowed at that altar, 
and fervent prayer ascended for greater display in the new 
church. Several of the older members spoke of the past 
with mingled feelings. They had been called to part with 
many who were with them when they held their first 
service there. They were comforted, however, in knowing 
that they have died well or are serving God elsewhere. 

"Father Bodge said he had been absent from the 
Sabbath service but twice in the twelve years they had 
worshipped there. Many of the younger people spoke of 
it as their spiritual birthplace, pointing to the very seat. 

"The exercises were continued about three hours. 
Near the close, three young persons came to the altar as 
penitents. Sad, yet rejoicing, the people bid farewell to 
their old home. 

"Next Sunday they will meet in the vestry of their 
new church. The first service is to be a public lovefeast 
commencing at 9 a.m. All wishing to attend should come 
early as the door will be closed at 9:15, to be opened 
again at 10:15. The regular services will commence at the 
usual hours." 

The first service in the Methodist dedication was a Public 
Love Feast, commencing at 9 o'clock in the morning. Many at- 
tended the feast, and all admired the gracious, winding stairway, 
the elegance of the architecture of the galleries, and the spacious- 
ness of the edifice. The last meeting in the old Methodist Church 
on lower Main Street was held on June 9th, and the dedication of 
the new church was followed by the purchase of the old by the 
German Lutheran Society for the sum of $6,250. An hour before 
the services of dedication began more than 1000 persons were 
present. The dedication sermon was preached by Bishop Simp- 
son. The trustees of the Society, through their chairman, Mr. 
L. A. Corbin, presented the edifice to the Bishop, with due custom 
and ritual. The cost of the church and lot was $50,000. 

The church on West Main Street was sold for $6,250. Sub- 
scriptions were received for $4,464, White and Corbin gave $6,650 
making total receipts of $17,364, and leaving a debt of $32,636. 
This increased by interest until it amounted to $42,201. The bur- 
den was almost intolerable, and faithful workers were often dis- 
couraged. But success came to the group twenty years later. 


Next to the dedication of the Church in November, 1867, the 
services celebrating the event of the emancipation from debt are 
the most memorable. A consecration meeting on Saturday evening, 
October 15, 1887, was followed on Sunday morning at 9 o'clock by 
a love-feast led by Rev. Edward Edson. The vestry was crowded. 
It was a real old-fashioned love feast. The presiding Elder for the 
Norwich District led the service. There was special music by an 
augmented choir. Prayer was offered by Rev. Mr. Bentley, of 
Norwich who deplored all fashionable religion and prayed that the 
old fire of Methodism pervade all hearts. The sermon was preached 
by the presiding Elder from John 14:16 — "And I will pray the 
Father, and He will send the Comforter." 

The real jubilee service was reserved for the evening. The 
seating capacity was severely taxed. The historical address was 
delivered by the Rev. J. H. James, pastor of the church. At the 
close of the address, he exhibited the quit-claim deed of the prop- 
erty now held free from debt by the church; the receipt for the 
$16,000 of interest which had been regularly met by Messrs. White 
and Corbin, and which had been most generously given to the 
church by these gentlemen; and lastly the mortgage note which 
represented the now extinguished debt that had hampered the 
church for many years. The mortgage note was placed upon a 
salver and ignited and burned to ashes during the singing of the 
doxology. The pastor very feelingly pronounced the benediction. 
What a time of rejoicing that was for all! — A never-to-be forgotten 

The kind soul of Corbin began life with a good name through 
baptism. He received the name of Lewis Angel Corbin in the 
name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and he 
had a good name through generosity. Cyrus White was his part- 
ner in benevolences as well as in business. Mr. Corbin came here 
in 1844. He was a stone mason by trade and in religion a strong 
Methodist. In 1854 he saw a bright future in the envelope manu- 
facturing business and became wealthy. He was ever happy that 
he lived to see the consummation of the payment of the debt on 
the church. With much deep feeling he said: 

"The Methodists have had a hard struggle. When I 
came here fifty-two years ago there was no regular Meth- 
odist preaching. There were only eight or ten Methodists 
in Rockville. In 1841 and 1842 they came so near being 
obliterated that Rockville was not mentioned in the Con- 


ference minutes. The first minister we boarded and paid 
$100 a year. When the first small church was being built 
it came near being destroyed by a whirlwind before it was 
completed. Then it was burned. The open doors of the 
Congregational Church took us in. And now we are 
happy because the debt is swept off. The people of Rock- 
ville have done nobly. When it was found we had raised 
all but $1,000, the First and Second churches took up 
handsome collections for us." 

The nineties saw great progress in the work of the church. 
The old dingy schoolhouse was a thing of the past, the inadequate 
church on West Street was forgotten in the elegant brick church 
edifice in which they now prospered. 

On a Sunday morning in February, 1890, $1,181 was raised for 
a pipe organ. In that same year, the Methodist Church Gazette, 
a folder of four pages, appeared as an advertising scheme; a new 
bell was placed in the tower to boom forth messages for genera- 
tions to come. This was a gift of Mrs. Julia Paulsen. A splendid 
contribution to the whole community was made in the establish- 
ment of Old Folks' Day. Rev. George Hubert Bates was minister 
at the time, and acting on the suggestion of his mother, set apart 
Sunday morning, November 8, 1891, as Old Folks' Day. There 
was nothing elaborate about the program — just a small printed 
sheet giving the order of service. The pastor preached. That was 
all. But the idea became popular in and out of the church, and 
for sixty years large congregations assembled for the occasion, ex- 
cepting the year 1918 when an epidemic of influenza made it un- 
wise to hold large gatherings. 

At a morning service in 1899, Rev. W. J. Yates told of a recent 
transfer by L. A. Corbin of his interest in the church property to 
the trustees and of his gift of the vestry building. Also, he stated 
that George Doane had given the church $1,500 to pay for mov- 
ing the vestry building and for the cost of fitting it up. The new 
roof cost $1,400. A large model of the church had been made of 
cardboard and the roof had been divided off into many squares. 
These squares were offered for sale to raise this money. 

It was in 1900 during the ministry of Rev. Walter Yates that 
Wesleyan Hall was opened. It was originally the vestry of the 
First Congregational Church, and when that church was merged 
into Union Church, Lewis Angel Corbin bought the building, 



moved it close to the church, and deeded it and the land on which 
it stood to the trustees of the Methodist Church. 

We have been privileged to read pastors' reports and to learn 
something of the multitudinous difficulties through which the 
church has passed. Many pastors fortunately had a sense of humor. 

Here are three instances: 

"Have generally spent my afternoons in calling on the 
members of the church and congregation and have visited 
nearly the whole congregation once. Quite a number of 
members of the church are in heaven, I trust, and have 
been for several years. I have not yet found it in my way 
to call on them. A very large number of the members 
are in places unknown to anyone here. I shall not be able 
to bestow much pastoral labor on them, unless you give 
me a very liberal allowance for travelling expenses." 

One preacher wrote, with cheerfulness: 

"There is one advantage of residing in Rockville even 
now, and that is — we are not plagued with blood-thirsty 

But another preacher was not quite so enthusiastic: 

"I have not been around the parish much during the 
hot weather because I cannot stand it, and I have had 
quite a number of sick people to visit." 

Note the strict attiude of the Official Board in those days 
toward amusements: "A meeting of the Official Board was held 
at which two members were appointed to interview two Methodist 
young ladies who had been known to attend a dance at the Rock- 
ville Hall." 

The one hundredth anniversary of the first Ecclesiastical So- 
ciety was celebrated in 1933. 

Ministers serving the Church from 1848 to 1951 were: 

W. W. Hurd 
A. Palmer 
L. W. Blood 
W. S. Simmons 
G. W. Brewster 
W. O. Cady 
G. W. Wooding 


C. Morse 
C. S. Sanford 
Robert Parsons 
John Love joy 
E. Benton 
J. W. Willett 
E. H. Hatfield 





J. A. Bucky 



W. E. Handy 



V. V. Sawyer 



L. G. Horton 



Frank W. Gray 



J. G. Sallis 



M. E. Osborne 



C. S. Johnson 



J. Arthur Edwards 



Theron French 



A. F. Waring 



Fred A. Dyckman 



Albert Jackson 
Carl Saunders 


Shadrach Leader 
Henry H. Martin 
G. W. Miller 
N. G. Axtell 
Richard Povey 
Oliver H. Fernald 
J. H. James 
Orange W. Scott 
George H. Bates 
Walter J. Yates 
Warren A. Luce 
Walter P. Buck 
W. S. Maclntire 
Robert S. Moore 

One of the late developments in the progress of the church 
was the erection of a large white cross in December, 1951, lighted 
with white neon tube around the edges. This is turned on every 
night at dark, to burn until about eleven P.M. This is a memorial 
cross, purchased with gifts from many members of the church in 
memory of their loved ones. A Memorial plaque in mahogany is 
placed within the church, listing the names of those memorialized 
in gold leaf. 

The addition of the Cross has made it possible to designate 
the Rockville Methodist Church as "The Church with the Lighted 





Like most Methodist Churches, the Vernon Church had its 
origin in a class meeting. The first class meeting was held in the 
year 1852 with the following members: James Whitney, Mary Whit- 
ney, Dudley Miner, Samuel Talcott, Maria S. Dobson, Henry E. 
Bennett, Caleb Austin and Louisa Austin. This class was connected 
with Rockville Station until 1856, when it was transferred to the 
North Manchester charge. 

Two years later students from Wesleyan University supplied 
the class, and the preaching services were held in the schoolhouse 
near Dobson's Village on the Sabbath until 1861. In 1864 the 
class took the name of Centerville Station, and Rev. H. S. Rams- 
dell was appointed preacher in charge with W. W. Bowdish, of 
the University, preaching half of the time on the Sabbath. 

The services were so popular that the schoolhouse was too 
small to accommodate the congregation, and steps were taken to 
build a house of worship. A committee consisting of Samuel S. 
Talcott, J. S. Dobson, G. H. Miner and E. P. Clark was empowered 
to purchase the Universalist Church in Bolton, which had been a 
Methodist Church from 1834 to 1851. In June of the year 1864 the 
house was taken down and moved by farmers and others without 
any compensation to land purchased from Dudley F. Miner a little 
east of the schoolhouse. Four months later, October 13, the 
church was dedicated with appropriate exercises. It is recorded 
that the slips or pews were purchased immediately, some renting 
for twenty-five dollars a year. 

To meet the need of a musical instrument Miss Emma Dobson 
solicited funds for the purchase of an organ. 

About 100 children were made happy at Christmas time when 
they received presents from generous church members. 

In 1865 Pastor Ramsdell announced: "During the past two 
years we have built our house of worship, doubled our member- 
ship, and have a debt on our church of only $850 which we hope 
to raise next year." And the very next year the pastor stated: 
"We have paid up our debt on our meeting house, purchased a bell, 
and have a good congregation, and even though the Congregation- 
alists have built a church near us, we expect to live in the future." 

In those days a Methodist preacher did not remain in a pas- 



torate more than three years, so a long line of pastors appears 
through the years. 

In 1871 Rev. Benjamin C. Phelps, who for several years had 
been chaplain at Wethersfield State Prison, bought a home in 
Vernon, and became pastor of the little church, but unfortunately 
had to give up his work and retire from active service. For a 
number of years he occupied his time as a mechanic in a little shop 
adjoining his home. The Honorable Charles Phelps joined the 
Church, as did an older brother, George Nelson Phelps. The church 
resorted again to pulpit supplies from the University, which did 
not prove satisfactory, but gave the urge for a resident pastor. 

An increase of salary was assured, and Smith S. Talcott and 
George H. Miner bought the house adjoining the church, now 
owned and occupied by Mr. Ernest Richard, and this was used 
as a parsonage for many years. Rev. S. O. Benton was sent by 
the Conference. His reception is described thus: "A congregation 
of about forty made their way over muddy roads and through a 
driving rain and sleet to hear the new minister. The cordiality 
of that greeting will not be forgotten by the pastor. It assured 
him of sympathizing hearts and hands ready for cooperation. After 
that first Sabbath he felt perfectly at home in Vernon and entered 
on his work with a bounding heart." 

Among the pastors who followed was Rev. Dwight A. Jordan 
who later became a celebrated preacher in New York City. The 
years brought revival meetings and then losses. Now the Sabbath 
School gained in attendance, and now it failed. In 1885 thirty 
members of the church moved away. In 1886 Smith S. Talcott, 
the principal supporter of the church transferred his business to 
Colorado, and the membership found it impossible to support a 

Ten years passed, and in 1895 provision was made for a pastor 
to occupy the house now owned by James Costello, but then owned 
by some of the Dobson family. Rev. D. W. Adams during a. suc- 
cessful pastorate brought about improvements. When the church 
was built there was one large room and a hallway. The partition 
was removed in 1895 and some of the space converted into a social 
room. Later, a small but convenient kitchen was added. 

During the pastorate of Rev. F. J. Follansbee, 1899-1903, a 
commodious parsonage was built next to the church. Deacon 
Post, of Vernon Center, a kind friend, held a mortgage on the prop- 
erty for a few years, until by the faithful work of the Ladies' Aid 


Society and generous gifts by the men the mortgage deed was 
burned amid great rejoicing. 

In 1918 a student from Hartford Seminary came, but shortly 
received orders from the Board of Missions to go to the Belgian 
Congo, Africa. Another student, Rev. W. E. Nelson, followed, and 
in less than a year, he too sailed, under the Methodist Board, for 
Angola, Africa. Soon another student, Rev. Frederick Dixon, came, 
and after finishing the conference year he married a Methodist 
girl from New Hampshire and sailed under the Congregational 
Board for Umtali, Africa. 

In March of 1938 the church was the recipient of three dozen 
copies of the new Methodist Hymnal in memory of Rev. and Mrs. 
Benjamin C. Phelps, who lived in Vernon many years. 

Outstanding work was done by Rev. S. M. Beale, who died 
March 16, 1941, at his home in Sandwich, Massachusetts, at the 
age of 101 years; Rev. C. C. Tibbetts, Rev. O. W. Newton, Rev. 
W. J. Crawford, Rev. M. E. Osborne, and Rev. M. S. Stocking, 
during whose pastorate twenty-five new members added strength 
to the church. Rev. C. H. Ginns rendered splendid service, and 
during the ministry of Rev. William T. Wallace, his successor, the 
church was built up, and the Sunday School which was discon- 
tinued in 1928 was reorganized with an enrollment of 67. In 1940 
Vernon Church became associated again with the Rockville Church, 
and Rev. L. Theron French, Rev. Arnold F. Waring and Rev. 
Frederick A. Dyckman served well. 

Aided by the generosity of many friends, hopes began to 
brighten, and in lune of 1947 a grant of $1500 was made by the 
Conference. At that same Conference Mr. Dyckman was appointed 
executive secretary of Christian Education, and Rev. Albert W. 
Jackson appointed to the charge of Rockville and Vernon. Plans 
were made for a basement in the Church, and contracts were award- 
ed, under Mr. Jackson's leadership. Another donation of $750 from 
the Conference was made in 1948, and $800 from the Home Mis- 
sionary Society made possible the splendid work without a debt. 

The building was strengthened by four steel beams, and the 
commodious basement finished, with a furnace room and a kitchen 
in the wings on either side, and as funds became available, further 
improvements were made in the approach to the building. Plans 
were made to sell the parsonage, the returns from which would 
materially help in the expenses of the church building. 

The Woman's Society of Christian Service (President, Mrs. 


Grace Smith) and the efficient treasurer of the Building Fund have 
rendered valuable service. There has been a substantial gain in 
membership during the pastorate of Rev. Albert W. Jackson. 

During the past few years $30,000 has been spent on repairs 
and alterations. Mr. Ernest Richard has had charge of the changes. 
The parsonage was sold for $8,500. The fluted columns in front 
of the church were obtained from a Cheney residence in Manches- 
ter, and donated by Mr. Joseph Hubbard and Mr. Everett T. Mc- 
Kinney of Bolton. 

Some new developments have taken place in the Methodist 
Churches of Vernon since June 1, 1954. Recognizing the challenge 
of their growing community, the Rockville Methodist Church voted 
to increase the salary sufficently to secure the full time ministry 
of a pastor, and invited the Rev. Carl W. Saunders, who had been 
serving in the dual parish of Rockville and Dobsonville for the 
past four years, to return in that capacity for a fifth year. This left 
the Dobsonville Methodist Church to be supplied otherwise. They 
also rose to the occasion, sensing the challenge of their growing 
community. The salary was increased and a local preacher, Mr. 
Sherwood Treadwell, of South Methodist Church, Manchester, 
Connecticut, was appointed to that parish, for a part time ministry 
while attending Boston University School of Theology. The mem- 
bers and friends of both Methodist parishes are rallying enthusi- 
astically to these new developments. 





The history of the Baptist Church had its beginning in the 
home of Thomas King, a tanner by trade and a Baptist by faith. 
He had moved from Suf field, Connecticut, to Ellington in 1840, 
and desiring to continue in the worship of the church of his choice, 
invited a small group of like-minded men to meet with him to 
discuss the possibility of forming a Baptist Ecclesiastical Society in 
Ellington. The invitation was accepted, and the meeting was held 
on the evening of January 17, 1842, at his home. 

On Tuesday morning, February 8, of that same year, the group 
assembled for the second time at King's home, and agreed unani- 
mously to organize a church. No time was lost, for in the after- 
noon of the same day services were held, where six persons were 
given the right hand of fellowship and legally recognized as a 
church. Others soon united with them. This church stood in the 
park facing south, just about opposite the present Ellington church. 
It was taken down and removed to Rockville where it became 
White's Opera House. Ellington has had four churches, the first 
1739-1806, located in the west end of the park opposite the Hall 
Memorial Library; the second 1806-1868; the third 1868-1914 located 
almost directly opposite the second church; and the fourth 1916 — 
on the same site as the third church. 

The small congregation met for a few months in the Center 
Schoolhouse for worship and then secured the Conference House 
of the Honorable John H. Brockway. On October 24, a committee 
was chosen to draft a Constitution for a meeting house to be built 
within a half mile of Ellington Green. There is no record to show 
that such a building was ever erected, though Rev. George Mixter, 
the first minister, built a small house in the vicinity. 

The years 1843-44 brought many difficulties, and on Christ- 
mas Day, 1844, the last meeting of the Society was held. The 
membership and the resources were inadequate to carry forward 
the work. However, in 1849, twenty-eight members of Baptist 
Churches residing in Rockville, issued a call for the formation of 
a Baptist Church. Fourteen members met at the home of E. S. 
Hurlburt, and resolved to consider themselves an indeDendent Bap- 
tist Church, to be known by the name of the Rockville Baptist 
Church. Elder D. D. Lyon acted as the first pastor. The Sundav 
meetings were held in Union Hall, in the Sears Building, recently 



erected by Jabez Sears. A meeting on April 24, 1849, records the 
fact that the committee selected to hire the hall secured its use 
for the sum of $62 a year, including light and heat. 

The first edifice of the Baptist Church was ready in the year 
1850, located on West Main Street (now the First Evangelical 
Lutheran Church of Rockville) near the United States Envelope 
Company's factory. Elder Henry R. Knapp became pastor as of 
April 21, 1850, and the membership grew to 80. Soon after the 
completion of the church, the Frank Mill near by and a tenement 
house and boarding house were burned. It is said that Elder 
Knapp, known to many as "Father" Knapp, stood on the steps of 
the Church and prayed most earnestly and eloquently that the 
house of worship might be saved. The Church was saved. 

"Father" Knapp resigned on May 1, 1852, and three years 
later, owing to financial burdens, the Baptist Society sold the prop- 
erty to the Methodist Episcopal Church for $2,500. Utterly dis- 
couraged, the members held no meetings for twenty-seven years 
(1855 to 1882). Then a revival of interest led nineteen members 
to use the West Store in White's Opera House Block as a mission 

In May, 1883, Rev. L. S. Brown, a Baptist clergyman of Tol- 
land, organized a movement looking toward the erection of a church 
edifice. This desire was strengthened by a flattering offer from 
the Rock Company to sell to the society the old Congregational 
parsonage lot, corner of Village and Union Streets, at a much 
smaller price than the Company paid for it, the reduction to be 
considered as the Company's contribution to the Church. Mr. 
Brown left for other fields, and was succeeded by a Rev. Walker. 
Ill-health compelled him to give up his work. For two years Rev. 
A. S. Brown, of Hartford, took charge of the work. 

The present edifice, built by contractor Camp, of Hartford, 
has a seating capacity of 265. It was formally dedicated to the 
service of God on Tuesday, March 8, 1887, the exercises occupy- 
ing afternoon and evening. The auditorium was filled at both 
services. Rev. C. A. Piddock, of Middletown, acted as moderator. 

The afternoon service was opened by an organ voluntary, fol- 
lowed by the singing of Mozart's "Gloria." The acting pastor, Rev. 
A. S. Brown, gave the invocation and Rev. B. K. Savage, of Tol- 
land, read the scripture. A quartette composed of Miss Denley 
and Mrs. Schofield, Messrs. Schofield and Evans sang "Protect Us 
Through the Coming Night." The dedicatory hymn, written for 


the occasion by Mrs. M. L. Barnes, of Hartford, was read by Rev. 
S. B. Forbes. Rev. A. S. Brown made a statement of the finances 
connected with the building of the Church as follows: 

Total money received $7,925.98 

Bills paid ' 6,476.87 

Cash in Treasury $1,449.11 

Bills to be paid $1,655.00 

Deduct sum in Treasury 1,449.11 

Deficiency $ 205.89 

Collections made at the dedication services amounting to $51.29 
in the afternoon and $50.28 in the evening, totalled $101.57, leaving 
the Church debt the merely nominal sum of $103.71. 

The sermon was delivered by Rev. A. G. Palmer, D.D., of Ston- 
ington. He had for his subject, "Assurance Is the Foundation of 
Success," founded on Philippians 1:6, a well- written and fervently 
delivered sermon. The closing prayer by Rev. Mr. Chapman, of 
Andover, was followed by Rev. C. H. Ricketts reading "Coronation," 
sung by the congregation. A very interesting service closed with 
the benediction by the pastor. 

The auditorium was crowded for the evening service. After 
the organ voluntary, Schubert's "Jubilate Deo" was sung by the 
choir, and Rev. J. H. James gave the scripture reading and the 
invocation. "How Lovely Are Thy Messengers" by the choir, 
prayer by Rev. Mr. Bachelder, of Stafford, and the singing of a 
hymn concluded the devotional service. 

Rev. L. L. Potter, of Hartford, delivered the sermon based on 
II Corinthians; 4:16. The preacher graphically illustrated the 
power of mind over matter — the action of the spirit on the body is 
always visible. At the close of the sermon Mr. George Smith sang 
a solo, "Bow Down and Hear Me," and the choir rendered "O Sing 
Unto the Lord" from Mozart's 12th Mass. Interest was added to 
the occasion by remarks of local pastors: Rev. Charles Ricketts 
gave a pleasing talk on "Unity of Work;" Rev. Samuel B. Forbes 
on "Christian Perseverance," and Rev. J. H. James on "Christian 
Unity and Cordial Greeting." Professor Evans directed the choir 
and Miss Randall officiated at the organ. 

The pastor thanked all who had interested themselves in the 
work of erecting and furnishing the church, especially Mrs. Hiran 
Fiske, the donor of the Smith organ, and the donors of the dining 
room equipment. 


The exterior of the church was painted in 1940. 

Dedication of the Maas Cathedral Chimes took place on Feb- 
ruary 16, 1941. 

The following ministers have faithfully served a very loyal 
people since the dedication of the Church: 

Rev. E. W. Potter 1887-1894 

Rev. Piddock 1894-1895 

Rev. A. P. Wedge 1895-1900 

Rev. G. D. Gould 1900-1912 

Rev. J. H. Adams 1912-1913 

Rev. H. D. Pierce 1914-1916 

Rev. C. W. Turner 1916-1918 

Rev. R. W. Ferguson 1918-1926 

Rev. Blake Smith 1927-1929 

Rev. Edward L. Nield 1930-1939 

Rev. Frederick W. Rapp 1939-1941 

Rev. Alvin D. Johnson 1942-1944 

Rev. Adolph Johnson 1945-1950 

Rev. Edwin A. Brooks 1951- 

In January, 1951, the church called the Reverend Edwin A. 
Brooks, who was at that time finishing work towards his B.D. de- 
gree at Crozer Theological Seminary, Chester, Pennsylvania, to be 
the pastor of the church. Mr. Brooks accepted the call and on 
February 20, 1951, took up his duties. Upon his arrival, he found 
that the church had begun a program of renovating the church 
sanctuary. The former parsonage having been sold the month be- 
fore, and a drive for funds with which to finance the renovation 
having been conducted earlier during the winter, the contract was 
given to a local contractor, Mr Ernest Welti. 

The sanctuary completed, the first service conducted in the 
rebeautified house of worship was a wedding ceremony on Satur- 
day, May 26. On Sunday, June 24, the renovated sanctuary was 
dedicated to "the glory of God and the worship of man." The 
Reverend Kenneth M. Cooper, Director of Town and Country 
Churches for the Connecticut Baptist Convention, delivered the 
sermon, "Temple Builders,' and former pastors of the church as- 
sisted in the service of dedication. Ministers of the local churches 
participated in the processional. 

As this renovation program was the fruit of the labor of the 
congregation and of the former pastor, the Reverend Adolph John- 
son, so was the institution of a new set of by-laws for the church 
which came to fruition during the interim. These new by-laws in 
a few major ways departed from the former church laws. Some 
of the changes to be noted were: One, the abolishment of the Pru- 


dential Board and the elevating of those former board members 
to the position of deaconesses; two, the creation of a Church Coun- 
cil to De "the general planning body of the church," to study "the 
needs of the cnurch . . . and its parish; determine the ways and 
means by which the policies and programs of the church shall be 
carried forward . . . and to correlate the programs of all the de- 
partments and groups in the church into one co-ordinated whole;" 
three, the acceptance by letter as an Associate Member, of "any 
person who professes faith in Christ and is a member of any 
evangelical church." 

In November, 1951, the church voted to secure another par- 
sonage, and elected the Board of Trustees plus one member-at- 
large as a Building Committee. The committee acting for the 
church decided that a new house should be built in the west end 
of the city. This being voted upon by the church in June, 1952, 
the new parsonage was constructed off Windsor Avenue on prop- 
erty formerly known as the Burke Farm, Mr. Benny Szestowicki 
being the contractor. The pastor and family moved into the house 
in January, 1953, and in June of the same year the church held 
the dedication service for the new parsonage. 

Through the years The Every Mother's Club has accomplished 
much. It was organized in the social rooms of the church on Sep- 
tember 23, 1921, with eleven ladies. Mrs. R. W. Ferguson was 
chosen chairman, and Mrs. Imogene Starkey and Mrs. Walter Ed- 
wards, nominating committee, submitted the following names — 
President, Mrs. Ellen Seymour; Vice-President, Mrs. Edith Busher; 
Secretary, Mrs. R. W. Ferguson; Treasurer, Mrs. Julia Edwards. 

The club has always had a generous heart, giving willingly to 
needy cases. It sent out baskets of food, bought coal for the poor, 
worked with the Visiting Nurse Association, and donations to New- 
ington Home for Crippled Children, Connecticut Children's Aid 
Society, Polio and Cancer Funds, Red Cross and Salvation Army. 

Important historical events in the life of the church include 
three ordinations into the ministry, of Edward W. Porter, of 
Rochester Theological School, 1887; Frederick W. Rapp, October, 
1939; and Alvin D. Johnson, May, 1942. 

Evangelistic services were held in January, 1894, conducted 
by Rev. D. T. Wyman, Evangelist. Fifteen were baptized and 
joined the church. 

During the pastorate of Rev. A. P. Wedge (1895-1900) a par- 
sonage was built on Orchard Street. 


Rev. G. D. Gould's pastorate is the longest the Church has 
yet known (1900-1912). There were over 80 members and a very 
active Men's Bible Class. 

Many church alterations were made in 1914, and the build- 
ing was raised in 1915 about five feet, making possible a large 
vestry underneath and better facilities at a cost of $6,000. In that 
year Mr. Fred W. Bradley was appointed treasurer of the church 
and has remained in that office ever since. 

Mr. Frederick Swindells gave a new Hammond electric organ 
in the year 1935. 

The fiftieth anniversary of the church was held on Thursday 
evening, November 11, 1937. 





The first Roman Catholic, as far as it is known, to settle in 
Rockville was James McAvenney who came in 1842. Six years 
later, in 1848, about fifteen Catholics assembled at the first Mass 
ever celebrated in Rockville. It was said in a house owned by 
the paper-mill company and occupied at that time by Christopher 
Carroll and his family. Rev. John Brady of Hartford was the cele- 
brant. Among the attendants at that first Mass were Christopher 
Carroll, Patrick Quinn, Edward Gorman, Thomas McDonnell, 
Denis O'Donnell, James Conner, Philip Kiernan, Matthew Fay, 
Eugene Kiernan, Patrick Duffy, Martin Flood, John Moore and 
Michael Lkwlor. 

In 1849 it was decided to have regular monthly visits, when 
confessions would be heard and Mass offered up. Rev. James 
Smyth, an assistant of Father Brady, was sent to perform this duty, 
and officiated at monthly intervals at the Albert Lamb house, where 
Patrick Quinn resided. He also said Mass in the Dean house on 
Mountain Street, where Martin Flood and his family then lived. 

In 1851 a larger place was secured by renting a room on the 
second floor of the "Brick Tavern," upstairs on the west side. The 
altar used here was in the keeping of Michael Regan in 1888. In 
1853 a small hall on Market Street, over the Rockville meat mar- 
ket, was rented. This hall, used in later years by the St. John's 
Young Men's Society, was afterwards destroyed by fire. Mass was 
said here by Father Smyth and others until March 15, 1854. Then 
Rev. Peter Egan assumed charge as the first resident pastor with 
Manchester, Stafford Springs, Broad Brook and Mansfield as de- 
pendencies. Soon the temporary church was found insufficent 
and a permanent church was decided upon. The funds of the 
Catholics were small and there was some prejudice also in ex- 
istence at that time. However, a more friendly disposition soon 
became manifest. One of the first to show it was Hanly Kellogg, 
a druggist, who conducted his business on the terrace. He offered 
his entire property to the Catholics on terms suitable to them and 
they soon made use of the opportunity presented. The store was 
moved back to School Street and was known afterwards as the 
Blake House. The site where St. Bernard's now stands was pur- 
chased in 1855 by Father Egan. 

Work on the new church was begun at once and advanced 



rapidly. Before it was completed Father Egan removed to Lee, 
Massachusetts, on November 12, 1856. He also purchased the 
cemetery on the Tolland road, consisting of five acres, in Sep- 
tember, 1854. 

Rev. Bernard Tully completed the erection of the church, 
which was dedicated soon after he came to Rockville. Bishop Mc- 
Farland officiated on that occasion. In 1863 Father Tully was 
transferred to Thompsonville. His successor at St. Bernard's was 
Rev. Hugh O'Reilly. The parish of St. Bernard's grew so large 
that an assistant became necessary. Rev. John Rogers of St. 
Mary's Church, Bridgeport, was sent to help out. 

On February 26, 1868, Father O'Reilly was promoted to Val- 
ley Falls, Rhode Island, and Father Tully returned to become, for 
the second time, pastor of Rockville. A year later Father Tully 
died while riding to Ellington. The Catholics of Rockville and 
Manchester erected a splendid monument in memory of their dead 
pastor. It still stands at the southeast entrance to St. Bernard's 
Church, Rockville. Father Tully 's assistant was Rev. William 
Halligan, who died in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. 

Rev. James Quinn was appointed in September, 1869, and la- 
bored zealously until his death on December 1, 1872. The parish 
was well spread out at that time. For a few months before he 
died, Father Quinn was assisted by Rev. Thomas L. Lynch. 

In November, 1872, Rev. Patrick P. Lawlor took charge and 
reorganized the parish. He paid off the debt and built an addi- 
tion to the vestry. He remained only one year and was transferred 
to New London. 

Rev. John J. Furlong was appointed on December 25, 1873, 
but was prevented by illness from assuming charge until January 
24, 1874. In the meantime Rev. T. L. Lynch was in charge of the 
parish. Father Furlong greatly improved the cemetery. In 1875 
he placed a new altar in the Church, moved the church back forty 
feet and raised it six feet and also put a new front with a tower 
on the Church. Bishop Galberry rededicated it January 20, 1878. 
The interior had been handsomely decorated, a new organ installed, 
new pews and beautiful stained glass windows as well. 

In February, 1886, Father Furlong purchased the Johnson site 
on Park Street and fitted up the house for a convent. To this prop- 
erty was added the Cogswell lot adjacent. The Sisters of Mercy 
went to live there. 




The school lot on School Street was also secured by Father 
Furlong. The old building which Father Egan had removed to 
make room for the Church was on this lot. This building was re- 
modeled for the Sisters who moved from Park Street into it on 
May 15, 1895. 

The parochial school held its first sessions in the basement of 
the Church, which was fitted up for school purposes. The Sisters 
of Mercy arrived November 3, 1886. The school opened May 2, 
1887, with five grades and over 300 children. One year before 
leaving Rockville for St. Mary's, Norwalk, Father Furlong began 
the erection of the parochial school; this was in 1894. The corner 
stone was laid on August 11, 1895, by Very Rev. John A. Mulcahy, 
Vicar General of the Diocese. On September 10, 1895, the new 
school was opened. Shortly afterwards there were 319 pupils. An 
excellent course of studies and strict discipline gave the students 
a good foundation on which to build success in later years. 

Father Furlong was succeeded by Rev. John Cooney, who was 
assisted by Rev. Thomas Murray. He was appointed pastor of St. 
Bernard's on October 7, 1896. He remained four years, serving 
the people of the parish well and winning the love and reverence 
of the faithful. 


A few years before, the first native of Rockville to be elevated 
to the priesthood had been ordained. He was Rev. Arthur O'Keefe, 
who was ordained on December 18, 1883. Many other young men 
followed in his footsteps, some of them still living and doing good 
work in the vineyard of the Lord. 

On September 12, 1900, Rev. Luke Fitzsimons was promoted 
from New Hartford to Rockville to succeed Father Cooney who 
had ben sent to St. Rose's Church, Meriden. 

Four years later St. Bernard's Church was completely de- 
stroyed by fire. A new church had to be built, so the pastor set 
to work with a will to succeed. The beautiful brick church, with 
its twin steeples, its limestone tracing, its exquisite stained glass 
windows, its marble altars, railing and statues, its comfortable 
pews and kneelers, its large seating capacity, is truly a house of 
God and a gate of Heaven for thousands of Catholic people in 
Rockville. This church, which stands on one of the finest sites 
in Connecticut, on a terrace about fifty feet above the main street, 
was dedicated in 1905. In 1910 Father Fitzsimons became perma- 
nent rector of the Immaculate Conception Church in Waterbury. 

On July 31, 1910, Rev. Michael May took possession and 
worked with great zeal for ten years to promote the welfare of his 
parish. The present beautiful rectory was built under his super- 
vision, and everything necessary for a well appointed and smoothly 
functioning Church institution was now at hand. After several 
years of hard and fruitful labor he was made pastor of St. Pat- 
rick's Church, Norwich, in June, 1921. 

Rev. George Sinnott then came to Rockville on June 11, 1921, 
and the parish made steady progress under his administration. He 
built a convent on School Street, a well planned edifice for the 
Sisters of Mercy, whose self-sacrifice, skill, teaching ability and 
good example are reflected in the characters of thousands of their 
former pupils. He devoted much of his time to supervising the 
"city of the dead," the only Catholic cemetery in the towns of 
Vernon, Tolland and Ellington. He passed to his eternal reward 
early in 1937. 

He was succeeded by Rev. Edward J. Quinn who did remark- 
able work in improving the church property in the short time given 
him for this task. He improved the interior of the Church and rec- 
tory, showing excellent taste in redecoration and in beautifying the 
sanctuary in particular. His landscaping of the Church grounds 
has added greatly to the beauty of the Church property. He hard- 


surfaced the school yard and the terrace road in front ol the Church 
and Rectory. He likewise improved the appearance ol the ceme- 
tery in the same manner, hardening the roads and sotting out 
scores of evergreen trees, some of which wore destroyed by the 
hurricane of 1938. In the summer of 1910 he was taken from his 
labors by the Great Master. 

Shortly afterwards Rev. James Q. Dolan was placed in charge 
of the parish and was well equipped for the work. Ho installed 
a very modern heating plant in the Church, thus insuring comfort 
even in the coldest weather. He also turned his attention to the 
school and gave it the most up to date equipment available, such 
as drinking fountains and fluorescent lighting of all classrooms and 
corridors. In addition to that he was an excellent preacher, having 
served for several years on the Diocesan Mission Band. 

Father Dolan was promoted to St. Joseph's Church. Meriden. 
where he is continuing his good work for the salvation of souls. 

On June 17, 1941, Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney was placed in 
charge of St. Bernard's Parish and immediately set to work. He 
renewed the front wall of the Church where the elements had done 
considerable damage, reinforced the interior of the twin steeples, 
installed sponge rubber kneelers, repaired all walks, pointed and 
weatherstripped buildings, reinforced all buildings, and has begun 
to improve the interior of the Church. With the cooperation of 
his parishioners he is in charge of an excellent Church property, 
all free from debt, of which any community might well be proud, 
each building in excellent condition. The spiritual work, of course, 
has not been neglected, for the Catholics of Rockville are loyal 
to their Church and its teaching. Thus over a period of many 
years the Catholic parish of St. Bernard's had grown steadily and 
today it flourishes as it points its steeples to the sky and proclaims 
to all who will listen that Christ is the Way, the Truth and the 

Besides the pastors mentioned above mam' other priests have 
served as assistants in St. Bernard's Church. Mam- missionaries 
likewise have come here to strengthen the faith of the people and 
to refresh the memories of the people in regard to the truths of 
their religion. 

Among the priests who have assisted the pastors in their work 
are the following: 

Rev. John F. Rogers, Rev. J. O'Keefe, Rev. Thomas L. Lynch, 
Rev. Jeremiah J. Curtin, Rev. J. E. Clark, Rev. Thomas J. Murray, 




Rev. R. Bardek, Rev. P. Daley, Rev. A. Dykmans, Rev. Thomas H. 
Tiernan, Rev. J. M. Raniszewski, Rev. James L. Smith, Rev. Francis 
C. Higgins, Rev. Francis J. Hinchey, Rev. Frederick H. Olschefskie, 
Rev. John E. Cavanaugh, Rev. Francis P. Breen, Rev. Aloysius G. 
Geist, Rev. Charles H. Corcoran and Rev. Leonard T. Goode, and 
Rev. Stanley J. Nazzaro, Rev. Edmund J. Barrett, and Rev. Lau- 
rence Leclair. 

On February 1, 1948, the territory of Vernon that lies outside 
the city limits of Rockville was added to St. Bernard's Parish. This 
includes the Sacred Heart Church of Vernon. The people, how- 
ever, felt right at home, as their children have for many years at- 
tended St. Bernard's School, and they now are cared for by the 
clergy of their own town. In 1953 Vernon was made a parish in 
its own right, with Rev. Fr. Ralph Kelley as pastor. 

Today the three towns of Vernon, Tolland, and Ellington make 
up St. Bernard's Parish. All Catholics and their friendly neighbors 
should rejoice because the year 1948 was the one hundredth anni- 
versary of the first Mass celebrated in Rockville. Thousands now 
worship where only a handful assembled then. Peace and com- 
fort have replaced hardship and uncertainty, and divine services 
are offered up to God by a devout and grateful congregation. 





The First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Rockville, Connecti- 
cut, was organized on September 23, 1866, as the Lutheran Society 
and later known as the West Main Street German Evangelical 
Lutheran Church. Rockville of that day was predominantly a Ger- 
man settlement and because of this Rev. Hanser of a Boston con- 
gregation gave his attention and efforts to the needs of a Lutheran 
Church here. The first Church Council elected on that 23rd day 
of September was as follows: A. Lining, President; J. Bonnet, Vice- 
President; Charles Bausch, Secretary; G. Mann, Treasurer; and A. 
Laubscher. Collector. On October 7th the congregation held an- 
other meeting and reported that the membership of the congrega- 
tion had grown to 97, with a treasury of $760. The Ladies' Aid 
Benevolent Society was organized shortly thereafter, likewise was 
a Sunday School founded at the time the church was dedicated. 

On November 15th of that same vear Rev. Graeber was called 
to become the first Pastor. Sendees were being held regularly in 
the Sunday School rooms of the Second Congregational Church. 
On April 2, 1867, the congregation acquired the present church 
property, which was owned at that time bv the Methodists, for the 
sum of *6,250. The building had been built bv the Baptists in 

Pastor Graeber resigned in 1869 to go to Meriden, and the 
Rev. Simon succeeded him. He remained until 1871 when Rev. 
Frev was called. In 1874 Rev. Frev resigned to accept a call to 
serve in Albanv, New York, and Rev. Soergel succeeded him. 
During his pastorate a new altar and pulpit were dedicated. 

Also during; those years some dissatisfaction arose because of 
congregational and personal requirements exacted from its mem- 
bers bv the Missouri Synod and in June of 1882 Rev. Soergel sev- 
ered connections with the congregation and, taking with him a 
small minority, organized another church in the city. Rev. C. A. 
Graepp, a member of the Canada Svnod, was then called to serve 
the congregation. The church having been a member of the Mis- 
souri Synod for nine years, now affiliated with the New York Min- 

In 1886 the site of a parsonage was purchased and one erected 
at a cost of ^2,000. In 1888 the Rev. Graepp resigned to serve in 
New York, and the Rev. G. F. Hartwig was called as Pastor. In 



September, 1888, the first Luther League in Connecticut was or- 
ganized and immediately accepted the obligation of a pipe organ 
at a cost of $650. The Ladies' Aid then paid off the remaining 
debt on the parsonage. 

Through the years renovations and improvements were made. 
The store which had occupied the basement of the church was 
renovated to accommodate the Sunday School and various organi- 
zational meetings. 

Various memorials have been placed in the church, among 
them an altar, lectern, bell and two chancel windows. In 1911 
electric lights and fixtures were first installed. In 1914 a metal 
ceiling was installed in the sanctuary, being donated bv the Ladies' 
Aid. In 1915 a 16 foot extension was constructed to the rear of 
the church, thus providing a chancel on the church level and a 
kitchen on the Sunday School level. 

In 1919 the Rev. Hartwig resigned in order that he might 
retire and the Rev. Otten was called as Pastor. English services 
were then held twice a month. The Duplex Envelope Svstem was 
introduced in 1920. During the ministry of Pastor Otten a Broth- 
erhood and Sewing Circle were organized. In December, 1925, an 
electrically equipped Estey Organ costing over $4,000 was dedi- 
cated. In 1926 Rev. Otten accepted a call to Staten Island and 
the Rev. J. Bauchmann succeeded him as Pastor. During the pas- 
torate of Rev. Bauchmann English services were conducted every 
Sunday. In 1927, a new and special heating system was installed 
and the entire first floor was renovated. In 1928 the name of the 
church was changed from the West Main Street German Evan- 
gelical Lutheran Church to the First Evangelical Lutheran Church 
and incorporated as such. The organization, the Busv Bees, was 
organized. The Church Council which formally consisted of 
twelve members was enlarged to nineteen members. Pastor Bauch- 
mann resigned in 1929. He was succeeded bv Pastor Drach. In 
1930 a two-car garage was built at the parsonage for $490 and the 
old buildings were torn down. On October 5th a Harvest Home 
Festival was held. In 1931 Pastor Drach resigned and was suc- 
ceeded by the Rev. K. O. Klette. In 1932 a sunporch was built 
on the parsonage bv the financial efforts of the Sewing Circle. The 
Junior Choir was organized in 1935. In 1937 the church building 
was shingled and the tower structure revamped. In 1938 the 
sanctuary was redecorated. The parsonage was shingled in 1941. 
In 1944 the congregation gave nearly $900 to the Wagner-Hart- 


wick College Appeal. In 1946 the heating system in the church 
and parsonage were converted to oil, the three oil burners being 
donated by two members. 

The Rev. Gordon E. Hohl, of the Trinity Lutheran Church, 
Brewster, New York, was called in 1950, and occupied the pulpit 
of First Lutheran Church here for the first time on October 22, 

During the past three years First Lutheran has paid its full 
apportionment to the United Lutheran Church in America, remit- 
ting $6,514 during the three-year period. In addition to this amount 
First Lutheran has also paid during the last three years $3,900 
to other benevolent work of the church. First Lutheran is a mis- 
sion-minded congregation. Also in 1953 First Lutheran went on 
a building drive to erect two new wings on its present building in 
order to provide individual rooms for Sunday School classes. The 
drive was successful and work was started the first part of July. 
On December 13, 1953, the new Parish Educational Units were 
dedicated, providing eight new classrooms, two cloakrooms and 
two new lavatories. The kitchen of the church was also enlarged 
and modernized, and the main Sunday School room was redeco- 
rated. In August of 1953, four young people from First Lutheran 
along with the Rev. and Mrs. Gordon E. Hohl attended the Na- 
tional Convention of the Luther League of America at Miami Uni- 
versity, Oxford, Ohio. 





This church was organized May 29, 1882, and incorporated in 
1892 as the "German Evangelical Lutheran Trinity Church," the 
certificate of organization being filed on April 7, 1892. At that 
time the ecclesiastical society turned over the property to the 
church corporation. 

This church was founded because of a schism in the original 
German Lutheran Church of Rockville, now the "First Evangelical 
Lutheran Church of Rockville, Connecticut," affiliated witii the 
United Lutheran Church. During the pastorate of the Rev. N. 
Soergel, who came in 1875, a disagreement arose on the question 
whether members of secret societies could be considered as true 
members of the church. In 1882, forty-two men withdrew from 
membership in the old church. They formed the Trinity congre- 
gation, which affiliated with the Missouri Svnod, as that svnod dis- 
approved secret societies. Pastor Soergel, who sympathized with 
them, gave his farewell sermon on May 28, 1882, and on the fol- 
lowing day joined in forming the new church. He became the 
first settled pastor, serving until November, 1885, when he accepted 
a call to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His successors in the pastorate 
have been: the Rev. Messrs. O. F. T. Hanser, 1886-1901; J. Heck 
of New York, 1901-5; W. von Schenk from Belleville, Illinois, 
1905-21; A. Ulkus of Wildrose, North Dakota, 1921-23; and E. O. 
Pieper, 1923—. 

The first meeting of the congregation, May 29, 1882, took place 
in a private house; the first service in a hotel. Later, while the 
church was being erected, services were conducted in the present 
building of St. John's Episcopal Church. The present church lot 
on Prospect Street was purchased for $300 and the church was 
built for $6500. The corner stone was laid on October 25, 1882, 
and on the third Sunday in Advent the first service was held in 
the basement. 

The completed edifice was dedicated on June 3, 1883. It is 
an imposing, wooden-frame building, clapboarded and painted 
white, on a cut stone foundation, with a basement for school and 
parish rooms. The architectural style is that of the American 
Gothic revival, with doors and windows having pointed arches. 
The front entrance is through a square tower, which has a belfry 
with one bell and is surmounted by a lofty, shingled spire carrying 



a weather vane. The first organ was obtained in 1890, installed 
by the Young People's Society; the present Austin organ was in- 
stalled in May, 1926, and dedicated on August 22nd. On October 
6, 1894, the Ladies' Aid Society bought a lot adjoining the church 
property for homes for the pastor and teacher. 

Many additions and improvements have been made to the 
church, including a renovation, and a baptismal font presented 
by the Young People's Society in 1888; shingling the roof, paid for 
by the Ladies' Aid Society, 1905; a complete renovation, 1907; new 
heating system, 1907; alteration and renovation of the basement 
and installation of a kitchen, 1920; renovation and redecoration, 
1926, paid for by the Ladies' Aid; chancel windows and candle- 
sticks, 1926; complete renovation and redecoration and many me- 
morial gifts at the fiftieth anniversary, May 29, 1932. 

The parish school was opened by Pastor Hanser as a private 
undertaking about 1886, but in March, 1888, was taken over by the 
congregation. It was continued for many years in both English 
and German by various teachers and sometimes by the pastor him- 
self. The enrollment fluctuated, but on the whole tended to de- 
cline, until in October, 1916, there were but 24 pupils. On July 3, 
1917, the congregation therefore voted to discontinue it. 

This church from time to time has taken charge of other 
churches and missions. Pastor Hanser served a mission at Broad 
Brook, begun under Pastor Frey of the original church (1872-75). 
This mission is mentioned as late as 1905, when Pastor von Schenk 
served it. Pastor Soergel started a mission in South Manchester, 
which later organized as a church with its own pastor, in 1891. It 
is now the Zion Church. In January, 1924, the parish assumed 
care of the Church of the Redeemer in Willimantic under the wise 
and consecrated guidance of Rev. E. O. Pieper, who came to Rock- 
ville in the year 1923. Mr. Pieper served the Church of the Re- 
deemer for 17 years until it became an independent congrega- 
tion. Services in German and in English were maintained until 
1941, when the service in German was discontinued. The Com- 
municant membership of the church stood at 200 in 1955 with 325 
baptized persons in the parish. Mr. Pieper continues to serve with 
undiminished fervor after 32 years as pastor. 


The history of St. John's Parish, unlike that of many New Eng- 
land parishes, is relatively brief. The Episcopalians did not flourish 
here until the middle of the last century. Of course there were 
families of this communion living in Vernon, but they were too few 
to start a mission or even a Sunday School. If any one was overly 
particular as to how he was to be married or buried, there were 
churches in Hartford and East Hartford that could take care of his 
wants and cater to his peculiarities. Broad Brook was the nearest 
parish in 1847, when the Rev. Mr. Clerc united in marriage Dr. 
Alfred R. Goodrich and Miss Charlotte Dobson, probably in the 
Rockville home of the bride, (possibly it was Dobsonville ) . 

The first Protestant Episcopal Church service ever held in 
Rockville was conducted by the Rev. Enoch Huntington, of Broad 
Brook, in the upper room of the Jabez Sears building on Market 
Street in 1851. Services were held a few times subsequently by 
Mr. Huntington in Keeney's hall. From 1851 to 1855 the Episco- 
palians of Rockville went to Broad Brook for their religious min- 




istrations, but writing in the Parish Register of the Broad Brook 
Church in 1855 Mr. Huntington stated that he held a service in 
the "hall of the Rockville Hotel." The hall was crowded. It was 
thought that over 300 persons were present. This, he says, was 
the third service held there. He thought that at some future time 
a chapel might be built in Rockville to accommodate the Episco- 
palians. A Mrs. Chapman was at that time the proprietress of the 

From 1855 to 1862 occasional services were held in Keeney's 
hall by Mr. Mines of Broad Brook and by Bishop Williams. From 
1862 to 1865 the Sacraments were administered in private by Mr. 
Short, of Broad Brook. 

From 1871 to 1873 services were kept up by the Rev. John T. 
Huntington of St. James' Church, Hartford, and by lay-readers — 
D. E. Peabody, W. B. Buckingham and others. Some of these 
services were held in the First Lutheran Church on West Main 
Street, others in a hall on Market Street, at or near Beer's Bakery. 
In 1872 the Parish was granted an organization by the Diocesan 
Convention of that year. In June 1873 the Rev. Harlow R. Whit- 
lock (Deacon) was appointed Minister in Charge, and after his 
ordination to the Priesthood the following year, was made rector. 
He resigned in 1879. 

The corner stone was laid October 2, 1874, with appropriate 
ceremonies. A tin box containing a Bible, a Prayer Book, and the 
records of the Parish was deposited in the stone. 

On Tuesday afternoon, December 22, of that year, Bishop 
John Williams opened and dedicated the new building, corner of 
Talcott and Ellington Avenues, where formerly stood John Davis's 
large barn. Davis peddled milk in that territory at five cents a 
quart. A Mason and Hamlin organ had been purchased and placed 
in position on Saturday, the 19th of December. From early morn- 
ing almost to the time of commencement of the exercises the weath- 
er was stormy. But suddenly and contrary to all expectations, the 
storm subsided, and the sun came out bright and warm. The 
Bishop in his address expressed earnest hope that the day might 
prove to have been emblematical of the Episcopal Church in Rock- 
ville, whose history hitherto had been in the main anything but 

Because no parish register was kept until Mr. Whitlock's time, 
one would have to look in the records of other parishes, like that of 
St. James, Hartford, or Grace Church, Broad Brook, for official 


acts performed in Rockville, or for Rockville people. The first 
list of officers cannot be found. From the resignation of Mr. Whit- 
lock in 1879 to 1884, services were conducted by lay-readers, Mr. 
Freeland of Trinity Church, Hartford, Jr. F. D. Buckley, afterward 
rector of Grace Church, Stafford Springs, and Trinity Church, 

On the first Sunday in Advent the Rev. William Foster Bielby 
was appointed Rector, and a succession of resident pastors has con- 
tinued to this day. Mr. Bielby also had charge of Broad Brook, 
thus reversing the procedure of earlier years and suggesting the 
growing strength of the Rockville congregation. Under this rector 
many basic improvements were made in the material fabric of the 
church. Laymen prominent in his time were William Randall, in 
whose memory a chancel window was placed, (still in use); Ed- 
ward Hurlbert, William Austin, Thomas Hewitt. 

Mr. Bielby resigned in June, 1888, and was followed by the 
Rev. Elijah J. Roke, from the diocese of Maryland. He served less 
than a year, resigning in April, 1889. 

The Rev. Clarence E. Ball was the next rector, from April, 
1889, to the summer of 1891. There was still a debt of $4500 on 
the church building when he left. He seems to have been ener- 
getic and a good executive, organizing the Woman's Aid Society 
and the Men's Guild. He also was the author of an elaborate code 
of by-laws, determining the conditions of legal membership, etc. 
The financial set-up was completely changed and all pews and 
sittings were made free. 

Mr. Ball was followed by the Rev. Samuel Derby, after a year's 
interim, during which the Rev. J. B. Robinson was minister in 
charge. Mr. Derby succeeded in getting a handsome and conveni- 
ent rectory built in 1895. Incidentally the "founding fathers" made 
a very wise choice in selecting the location of the church and rec- 
tory, a fine residential section,with no danger of encroachments 
from business or industry to mar the Sabbath peace. The Rev. 
Robert Clarkson Tongue succeeded Mr. Derby in 1896 and was 
the rector for three years. He was a very able young man, wrote 
poems for "The Youth's Companion" occasionally, and was called 
to a much larger parish in Meriden, where he died after a brief 
but memorable ministry. 

The Rev. John H. George was the next rector (1899-1915). 
Under Mr. George, a very consecrated and devoted pastor and 
teacher, the choir was vested and a new organ installed. The 


church was consecrated by Bishop Chauncy Bunco Brewster. \Ia\ 
30, 1905. The Rev. John \V. Woessner, ol West Texas, was min- 
ister in charge for a few months in L915, or until the Rev. Edward 
T. Mathison was called to he rector in October of that year. He 
served during the First World War and until the fall of L923. His 
efforts resulted in the purchase of the "Church House' at 5 Talcott 
Avenue. This is not a Parish House, hut a two-family dwelling 
which is rented and supposed to be a source of revenue for tli<- 

The next rector was the Rev. Henry B. Olmstead, who came 
to St. John's in March, 1924, and retired in 1950. 

In twenty-four years many things have been accomplished. 
A continuous procession of memorials has greatly enriched the 
appearance of the church, so that the little temple on the hill is 
generally pronounced "Very pretty." A very useful addition was 
made in the summer of 1925 on the occasion of the Fiftieth Anni- 
versary of the building of the church. The Church and Rectory 
were connected by a structure which comprises a kitchen in the 
basement with a choir room above. 

This historical sketch is chiefly that of a procession of rectors. 
They came and went, usually after a very short stay, but the per- 
manent work, the real building was done by the lay people, so 
many that they cannot be mentioned here. The long and useful 
rectorship of Rev. Henry B. Olmstead, of twenty-five years, in- 
cludes a long list of prominent men and women which it would be 
unfair to publish because manv others would be omitted. Here is 
the list of officers in 1924 when Mr. Olmstead arrived, and the 
officers of this year. 

In 1924 the Senior Warden was Sherwood C. Cummings, the 
Junior Warden, George W. Randall. The Vestrvmen included. 
Joseph Prichard, Frederick Elliott, R. Earl Elliott, Albert H. Hew- 
itt, Joseph Moss, Joseph Grist, Alfred Hobro, Joseph Brierly, 
Charles Underwood, Enoch Austin and Walter J. Kent. The offi- 
cers at the present writing are: Senior Warden, William Kuhnly; 
junior Warden, Roland Wise; Treasurer, Robert Nutland; Parish 
Clerk, William Nutland. The Vestrymen are: Albert H. Hewitt. 
R. Earl Elliott, Dr. Dousflas Roberts, Werner Greunig, Russell 

At the retirement of the Rev. Henry B. Olmstead, the Rev. 
Maurice G. Foulkes became the rector, taking up his official duties 
in July of 1951. Mr. and Mrs. Olmstead passed away within a 
few days of each other in March of 1952. 


The Apostolic Christian Church, now located in Ellington on 
Butcher Road, but originally built on Orchard Street, has the dis- 
tinction of being the only one of that denomination in the New 
England States. 

Discontented young farmers of Switzerland and Sweden began 
pouring into the States about the year 1860. The Homestead Act 
of 1862, whereby land was given free, proved a fresh stimulation 
to underpaid farm workers of those countries, and the peak of 
immigration was reached in 1882, when 64,607 persons came to the 
Promised Land. 

The record of the citizens of Swiss ancestry is a highly hon- 
orable one. Among their admirable qualities are a keen sense of 
responsibility, pride in their work, caution, patience, and deep- 
rooted respect for law and order. They are gifted and reliable. 

Between 1890 and 1900 a small group of Swiss farmers came 
to Rockville. For a time they held religious meetings in houses. 
In the year 1891 twenty-five members built a small church on 
Thomas Street, No. 58. Their numbers grew to one hundred. The 
walk to Fox Hill for worship was difficult, and Alfred Schneider's 
father deeded land on Orchard Street to the members in 1899. 

In the diary of John Newton there is a paragraph dated Tues- 
day, May 2, 1899, which reads "Contracted with the Apostolic 
Christian Church to buy 35,000 brick at $4.25 for labor." 

The church stood until April, 1908, when an incendiary fire 
destroyed the building. The new building was erected immediately 
of stone and brick, with a superstructure of wood, and a com- 
modious basement. Until 1925 all services were in German, from 
1925 to 1940 German and English, and now English onlv. The 
membership has grown to 235, with a Sunday School of 125. John 
Bahler, an ordained elder elected by the congregation, and a coun- 
cil of elders have charge of all church matters. 

And now in 1954 a new church is nearly completed on Butcher 
Road. It is commodious and magnificent. The cost is $200,000, 
and so wonderful is the loyalty of members and friends that the 
noble sum of $179,000 has been pledged. 

The trustees of the church are John Zahner, Fred Luginbuhl, 
John Moser, Jr.; Treasurer, William Schneider; Elder, John Bahler. 



A large group of Polish people employed in woolen, worsted 
and silk factories in the city established their own church under 
the name of St. Joseph's Church, also a rectory, school, convent, 
and sexton's house. 

They came from all parts of Poland more than a hundred 
years ago, 1850, family after family, and their aim was eventually 
to establish their own parish and to carry forward the faith of 
their fathers. There were finally about 300 families living in the 

The first step was the organization of the St. Joseph's Society, 
which planned the work of starting a parish. There were many 
difficulties in the way, but the Rev. L. Bonjnowski, of New Britain, 
assisted in guiding the undertaking, also Rev. St. Lozowski, of 
Hartford. The people bought land at the corner of Union and 
West Streets and a temporary church was built in readiness for 
the first pastor, Rev. Carol Wotypka, from New Britain, who was 
appointed by the Rt. Rev. Bishop Tierney, then Bishop of the Hart- 
ford diocese. 

Rev. Carol Wotypka at once started work with the aid of his 
congregation in building the new church, which still stands on 
Union and West Streets. He adopted a novel plan for raising 
money for the church. He called upon his parishioners to coop- 
erate with him in defraying the expenses connected with the build- 
ing of the church. They responded unselfishly, and noblv set aside 
two days' pav each month for the first six months and then one 
day's pay each month for a year. About $7,000 was soon paid on 
the church. There are about 900 Polish people in the citv. Rev. 
Wotypka worked arduously for three years until his health failed. 

The church was dedicated on Sunday, October 29, 1905. 
Bishop Tierney officiated at the services and complimented the 
members on their fine spirit. The sermon was delivered bv Rev. 
W. A. Becker, of Bridgeport, in Polish. A choir of twenty voices 
sang Gounod's Mass in C in a very creditable manner. Rev. 
Kruszynski, of Bridgeport, delivered the sermon at the Vesper 

The building is of Gothic style of architecture, and is built of 
wood. The bell in the tower was given bv the Sprin^ville Manu- 
facturing: Company. The Society of St. Joseph's, composed of 
men of the parish, donated $565 out of their treasury for the new 







marble altar, and the statue of St. Joseph, facing on Union Street. 

Following the Rev. Carol Wotypka was the Rev. Joseph Cul- 
kowski, appointed by the Bishop of Hartford. He worked hard for 
the people, but poor health made it necessary for him to give up 
his work. 

The church then received Rev. Max Soltysek, who was ap- 
pointed pastor. He labored untiringly for eight years. On his 
arrival he interested his congregation in the great need of a parish 
school. It was possible through his efforts to add to St. Joseph's 
Church the parish school, which is now used daily by the school 
children. Rev. Max Soltysek was transferred by the Bishop to St. 
Mary's Polish Church in Middletown, Connecticut. 

Rev. Leo Wierzynski served as pastor for a short time, work- 
ing with his people for not quite a year. He then went to Poland, 
where he died. 

The fifth pastor of the church came from St. Joseph's Church, 
Suffield, Rev. Francis Wladasz. The kind ways and deeds of 
Father Wladasz are still fresh in the memories of many of his con- 
gregation to this day. During his four years he made many im- 
provements to the church property, and purchased adjoining prop- 
erty, including the sexton's house. 

Then Rev. Stephen Bartkowski came to take up his duties. 
During his six years he built the rectory, practically paying for it 
at the time it was built, as well as paying on the large debt on the 

Rev. Sigismud Woroniecki came in November, 1927, from 
Southington, and died here in 1949, after twenty-two years of 
faithful service. He made improvements in the church property, 
including redecorations. The debt was paid, St. Joseph's Band 
was organized, and eight societies are doing good work. 

Rev. Hvacinth A. Lepak, educated at Hartford High School. 
St. Thomas Seminary, and the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, 
was appointed pastor of St. Joseph's November 6. 1949. He was 
ordained into the priesthood in the year 1931 in Fribourg, Switzer- 

His principal aim upon arrival in Rockville was to reorganize 
and revitalize the parish, with the intention of building a new 
church to seat at least 700. Plans are in preparation to carry out 
that purpose. 

St. Joseph's Church has a membership of approximately 1650. 
and the school, taught by Sisters of the Felician Order, consists of 
300 children. 


Rev. Napoleon Hall started a mission among the colored peo- 
ple of Rockville and vicinity in the year 1917. For several months 
they held prayer meetings in homes, and organized in the spring 
of 1918 at the home of Mr. McKnight on Fox Hill. Later on, the 
Rockville Baptist Church opened its doors to them and they met 
in the vestry on Sunday evenings at 7:30. 

There were ninety-eight colored people in Rockville in 1920, 
and, assisted by the Baptist Convention, they dedicated a Meeting 
House at 6 Davis Avenue, on January 9, 1921. Rev. Napoleon 
Hall was in charge of the services, and Rev. Dr. A. B. Coates, of 
Hartford, delivered the sermon. The church was a double house, 
one side of it being used by the pastor for a residence, and the 
other rooms for worship. 

In 1926 the Baptist Convention could no longer support the 
church. The property was sold, and the few members became 
utterly discouraged. 



In 1913, the possibility of some day having its own place of 
worship was just a remote dream in the minds of the tiny Jewish 
population of Rockville. In the summer of that year, the com- 
munity purchased its first Sefer Torah. During the Simchas Torah 
celebration of that event, a newly married girl named Mrs. Fanny 
Giber, noting how many ladies there were in town who seemed 
to be interested, thought that they ought to do something about 
organizing a club or group to knit the community together more 
closely. So in December, 1913, a group of 13 women met at the 
Giber home and formed an organization to be known as The Rock- 


ville Hebrew Ladies' Society. The charter members were: 

Mrs. Giber, President 
Mrs. Brown, Vice-President 
Mrs. Spector, Secretary 
Mrs. Winer, Treasurer 

and the Misses Gordon, Block, Blonstein, Goldberg, Ginsburg, Fill- 
man, Lebeshevsky, Vishovsky, Kelman, Klatz, and Goldman. 

The purpose of the Society was mainly charitable and to 
maintain the Jewish way of life in the community. Worship in 
those days was held at the Giber home where the Sefer Torah was 
kept, except for the high holidays when a hall was hired for the 
occasion. From 1924 through 1931, the Jewish community rented 
space sometimes in the Masonic Hall, and at other times in the 
Hartford-Connecticut Trust building. 

The meetings of the ladies took place at the homes of the va- 
rious members. Dues were paid and any money collected was used 
for charity. For some time there were meetings twice a month, 
once for social purposes and once for business. All this time, 
little by little, money was being saved toward the hope of buying 
a "shul." 

The earliest complete records of the B'nai Israel Sisterhood 
date back to November, 1930. The previous records were de- 
stroyed in the fire in the early part of 1930. In those days it was 
not the Sisterhood B'nai Israel but the Rockville Hebrew Ladies' 

At last, in 1931, a building which is now the Red Men's Hall, 
on East Main Street, was purchased from the Rockville Athletic 




Association. To be sure, it was dilapidated, it needed a coat of 
paint, the interior was in great disrepair, but it represented the 
realization of a long desired wish — a place of worship and a place 
for the community to hold its social affairs. It was used as a 
Synagogue, School and Community Center, through the end of 
1945. At this time, "Sunset Castle," the magnificent Belding prop- 
erty on Talcott Avenue was purchased, and the previous building 
sold to the Red Men. The Rabbi is Aaron Twersky. 

At the time of the first meeting in the new building there 
were 22 members. It was then voted to change the name of the 
organization from the Rockville Hebrew Ladies' Association to the 
Sisterhood of the Congregation B'nai Israel, and the purpose of the 
Sisterhood was to be primarily to work for the school. 



The first Talcottville House of Worship was commenced April 
9, 1866, and completed March 12, 1867. The commodious and 
beautiful sanctuary was built and furnished throughout, including 
the lecture room, by the brothers Horace Wells and Charles Deni- 
son Talcott, entirely at their expense, and the use of it presented 
to the Congregational Church in Talcottville, "so long as said church 
shall sustain the preaching of the gospel and other connected means 
of grace, according to the Faith and Order of the Fathers." 

The first prayer meeting in the lecture room was held Satur- 
day evening, December 1, 1866. In this room public worship on 
the Sabbath, by those intending to be organized into a church and 
ecclesiastical society, was held for the first time December 2, 1866, 
when the venerable Rev. Joel Hawes, D.D., of Hartford, officiated 
with great appropriateness and power. After this, public worship 
was regularly held on the Sabbath in the lecture room until March 
13, 1867, when 41 members were dismissed from Vernon in form- 
ing Talcottville Church, the House of the Lord dedicated, and 
Rev. George A. Oviatt installed as pastor according to Congrega- 
tional usage. 

The number comprising the church at its organization was 
seventy-four, sixty-four by letters from other churches and ten by 
public confession of faith. Within a year and a half, there were 
added eighty-four; thirty-nine by letter and forty-five by con- 

The regular meetings of the church, aside from those of pub- 
lic worship on the Lord's Day, were held on the Sabbath, Thurs- 
day and Saturday evenings. 

The Sabbath School was organized December 2, 1866, with 
sixty-four teachers and scholars and deacon Horace W. Talcott as 
superintendent. Deacon Talcott held this position until he died in 
1871, at which time he was succeeded by Deacon C. Denison Tal- 
cott. Following the latter's death in 1882 Deacon H. G. Talcott 
was chosen as superintendent and he served until his death in 
1917, after which John G. Talcott was chosen. For many years 
the latter continued in office although not able to serve. However, 
he was ably assisted by associate superintendents: Miss Stanwood, 
Franklin G. Welles, and John G. Talcott, Jr. M. H. Talcott also 
acted as treasurer for many years. 



The early pastors of the Talcottville Church were Rev. George 
A. Oviatt, Rev. John P. Hawley, Rev. Theodore L. Day, Rev. George 
H. Pratt, Rev. Jonathan Wadhams, Rev. Foster R. Waite, Rev. 
David L. Yale. 

It was during Rev. Yale's pastorate that the burning of the 
church occurred on October 30, 1906. That very evening he had 
been using his large telescope near the church, allowing his friends 
to gaze at the wonders of the sky. Instead of taking it home as 
was his custom, he left it in the church, and in the morning it was 
completely destroyed. A bucket brigade was formed by the citi- 
zens of the town, but all efforts were in vain. Many records were 
lost in the fire, too. The offices of Talcott Brothers, woolen manu- 
facturers, were in the lower part of the church building and these 
were burned out or buried under the debris of the falling walls. 

Services were held in the schoolhouse the Sunday after the 
fire and continued there until the hall over the store was made 
into a chapel, where services were continued for some time. 

The cornerstone of the new church was laid on Sunday after- 
noon, June 30, 1912, by Deacon H. G. Talcott. The first public 
services were held May 4, 1913, and on June 24, 1913, was held 
the Dedication of the House of Worship and the installation of the 
pastor, Rev. Francis P. Bachelor, Rev. David L. Yale having re- 

June 24, 1913 

Organ Prelude — Adagio, Fifth Sonata 

Anthem, "Hark, hark my soul" 

Invocation — Rev. Charles W. Burt, of Bolton 

Reading of Records of Council — Scribe 

Scripture Lesson — Rev. D. E. Jones, of Ellington 

Sermon — Rev. W. Douglas MacKenzie, D.D., LL.D. 

The first funeral in the new church was held on June 30, 1913, 
when L. Pitkin Talcott passed away. The pastors following Rev. 
Francis P. Bachelor were Rev. George W. Stephenson, Rev. Thomas 
Street, Rev. Ernest Gordon, Rev. James A. Bull and Rev. Everett 
A. Murphy. 

Talcottville Church has always been interested in missionary 
work. In September of 1866, six months before the first church 
service, a loyal group of 45 women and 18 men organized the 
Home Missionary Society. 


At the 100th Anniversary Celebration at the First Meeting 
House of Vernon, September 26, 1926, Miss Aliee F. Dexter, repre- 
senting Talcottville Church, spoke of transportation difficulties in 
the early days: 

"In a far corner of the Town of Vernon was a small 
group of houses collected around a manufacturing plant 
forming a village just too far for all to get to church and 
to the weekly prayer meetings, so accommodations were 
made to help those who so desired to attend the church 
services. Early on Sunday mornings someone went from 
house to house to find out who wanted to go to church, 
a four-seated omnibus holding 12, also smaller wagons, 
were provided, and those who could not ride walked." 

"Because of the distance Mr. N. O. Kellogg opened 
his mill office for Saturday evening prayer meetings. The 
choir was largely composed of volunteers filling several 
rows of seats." 

At the 75th Anniversary of the Talcottville Church on Friday, 
March 13, 1942, John G. Talcott expressed his appreciation to the 
church members for installing a loud speaker in his home, whereby 
he could enjoy all the church services when not able to leave his 
home. A microphone had been installed over the pulpit. Mr. 
John G. Talcott passed away November 2, 1944, but the memory 
of his noble character will be cherished for ever. 


He brief career of the Salvation Armv in Rockville has been 

a peculiar mixture of jov and sorrow. In the vear 1886 its en- 

; :astic members packed the Rockville Hall and Opera House at 

manv meetings. The city became one of the most important posts 

: the Army in the State of Connecticut. 

On Saturdav. Januarv 29. 1887, a Salvation Armv Temple was 
dedicated. It was a wooden building, erected on land now occu- 
pied bv the Rockville Grain and Coal Companv. Rrooklvn Street. 
The temple had no architectural charm, but the interior was bright 
and cheery. Manv Bible texts adorned the walls, and over the 
platform hung the framed picture of General Booth. 

The festive occasion began with a banquet at the Rockville 
Rail an the 29th from five to eight o'clock. The dedication exer- 
cises followed. Captain Edwin Gay, D.O.. gave the address. 
There was much band music. The temple was presented to the 
Corps in charge of Captain Terrv and wife and his successors, 
to be used as "a free house of praver. to which evervbodv would 




be welcomed, and there would be no pew rents." It is said that 
this was the first Salvation Army Temple erected in Connecticut. 

George Washington, the colored hero of Danbury, a happy, 
rollicking young man, fairly bubbling over with joy, spoke with great 
fervor. He told the large audience the devil had had him for 
thirty-five years, but now he was a witness for God. He accepted 
the Baptist faith, but he loved the Salvation Army. The celebra- 
tion continued through Sunday and Monday. 

The evangelistic work of the Army was supported locally by 
many good citizens, but there were some who were offended by 
their open air meetings, and the tinkling of the Salvation Army bell 
on the sidewalk attracted an organized gang of hoodlums deter- 
mined to drive the "warriors" away. 

Several times they were ordered to move away from the 
Doane Block where they held their open air meetings, as tenants 
in the block complained that the crowd interfered with business. 
The question of permitting the Salvation Army to parade the streets 
with music was discussed at meetings of the City Council in 1892, 
and the evangelists became too discouraged to continue their work 
in Rockville. 

Let it be said that the citizens respond nobly to the annual 
solicitation of the Salvation Army under local sponsorship. 

From the "War-Cry," comes an item of local interest: 

The Rev. Edward Payson Hammond lived at Vernon Center 
in the early part of the nineteenth century. He was an independent 
evangelist, carrying his message to many colleges and communities 
in America. He traveled to England, and there had friendlv as- 
sociation with William Booth, who later became the founder of 
the Salvation Army. Because of the counsel he gave Booth at a 
time when William was the pastor of a Methodist Church, and 
was inclined to leave that denomination for the Salvation Army 
work, he liked to be acknowledged as "the Grandfather of the Sal- 
vation Army." 

Rev. Edward Payson Hammond, M.A., was the author of 
"The Conversion of Children," "Children and Jesus," "Sketches of 
Palestine," "Better Life," "Jesus the Lamb of God," "Gathered 
Lambs," "Golden Gleanings," "Jesus and the Little Ones," "The 
Child's Guide to Heaven," "The Blood of Jesus," from 1872 to 1882. 

He conducted revival services at home and abroad: England. 
Scotland, Wales, in Charleston, South Carolina, Oraneeburv, Co- 
lumbia, Montreal. Biddle University at Charlotte, North Carolina, 
Washington, D. C, and visited the Holy Land. 


As a result of interest aroused through the healing in Chris- 
tian Science of Mr. Orrin C. West of Rockville, of rheumatism and 
extreme profanity, a small group of students of Christian Science 
met at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Carlos Doane during the sum- 
mer of 1907. Mrs. Doane had been healed of grief and a nervous 
condition brought about by the passing of her daughter. Mr. 
William Hibbard, brother of Mrs. Doane, attended some of these 
services which started his interest in Christian Science and resulted 
in his healing in 1908 from a serious nervous breakdown. Ten or 
twelve attended the services, two or three coming from Manches- 
ter, Connecticut, others from Rockville, and a Mrs. Felts of Hart- 
ford gave much encouragement. 

The first business meeting was held at the home of Mr. and 
Mrs. Doane on December 11, 1907, for the purpose of hiring a 




hall for the Sunday morning services. Forester's Hall was rented 
from the date of December 29, 1907, to July, 1909, when Masonic 
Hall was procured. Services were held there from that date, with 
the exception of a short time when these students went through a 
period of deep waters. Miss Ida Martin, a consecrated and faith- 
ful worker, passed on while First Reader. The financial conditions 
were such that Masonic Hall was vacated and meetings were held 
at various places. No record was kept from June 22, 1911, to 
October 19, 1913. 

A meeting was held December 14, 1913, in Masonic Hall. It 
was voted to form a Society and insert an announcement in the 
Christian Science Journal. In the early part of 1914 the Society was 
formed according to the Manual of The Mother Church by Maiy 
Baker Eddy. The exact date is not recorded. 

It was voted August 5, 1917, to have a Wednesday evening 
meeting once a month for testimonies of healing. The first of these 
meetings was held on September 12, 1917, and these meetings 
continued once a month until September, 1930, when it was de- 
cided to have them every Wednesday. A Sunday School was 
started July 13, 1930. The first Christian Science lecture was given 
May 15, 1932. 

The growth of this Society has been slow but sturdy. The 
interest in Christian Science in Rockville is increasing and there is 
more growth in the Society now than at any time in its history. 

It was voted July 14, 1941, to purchase the attractive Charter 
property at 94 Union Street, Rockville, for a Church home. 

The first service in this new Church home was held on Thanks- 
giving Day, November 20, 1941. It was a joyful occasion. Many 
visitors from surrounding towns were present, and many testi- 
monials of gratitude were given. 

No Christian Science Church is dedicated until it is free from 
debt. The working out of the financial problem was a beautiful 
demonstration. It was a happy occasion when this Church was 
dedicated free from debt on June 28, 1942, with three services. 
The First Reader in his dedication message gave the history of 
the Church and expressed much gratitude to God for His good- 

The organization of Christian Science consists of The Mother 
Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massa- 
chusetts, and its branches. Some of the branches are churches and 


others Societies. The Bible and the Christian Science text book 
are the only preachers. 

When a Society can qualify, according to the Manual of The 
Mother Church, written by Mary Baker Eddy, it may become a 
Church. The local Society was dissolved and all of its property 
was transferred to First Church of Christ, Scientist, Rockville, Con- 
necticut, February 18, 1946. Christian Science Society, Rockville, 
Connecticut, became an incorporated church June 10, 1946. 


Eighty-five years ago a meeting was held in the lecture room 
of the First Congregational Church of Rockville to organize a 
local Young Men's Christian Association. The date — Wednesday 
evening, July 14, 1869. Alonzo Bailey was president, and E. C. 
Chapman acted as secretary. Prayer was offered by Mr. Frink. 
A copy of the constitution of the Hartford Y.M.C.A. was read, and 
Mr. Kellogg, Jr., moved that this organization be made a Young 
People's Association instead of a Young Men's Christian Associa- 
tion. The resolution was accepted, and a constitution adopted. 

The Association flourished for a number of years and then 
declined. Thirty years later, the Rockville Journal of Friday, Sep- 
tember 22, 1899, stated: 

"A meeting was held in the old Boys' Club building 
in the rear of the Methodist Church for the purpose of 
organizing a Young Men's Christian Association. There 
was quite a number of young men present. A Constitu- 
tion was adopted. The object of the organization is the 
physical, mental, and spiritual development of the young 
men. The large room is to be fitted up as a gymnasium, 
the small room to be used as a reading room and library." 
That flourished for a number of years and then declined. 

And in spite of many conscientious efforts to revive and sustain a 
Y.M.C.A. the worthy organization is now inactive. 


A decade ago the religious order, Jehovah's Witnesses, ap- 
proved by the Watchtower Society, was organized in Rockville, 
and Kingdom Hall was established at 22 Ward Street. Ten Wit- 
nesses met for Bible study weekly. Because of a growing number 


of adherents, the congregation moved to more commodious rooms 
at 41 Orchard Street in May, 1950. 

Their activities include a Bible discourse every Sunday at 3 
P.M.; at 4:15 a study of The Watchtower Magazine; at 7 P.M. on 
Wednesday instruction is given for house to house preaching; at 
8 P.M. on Friday further study of the Bible. 


In the year 1896, Unitarians met in Mechanics Hall and or- 
ganized, but did not long continue their worship services. 


Spiritualist meetings were held in the Tolland woods in 1857, 
and a four-horse wagon load of believers attended regularly from 


A religious census of the town of Vernon, undertaken by the 
Connecticut Bible Society in 1921, revealed church affiliation as 
follows : 

Methodist 534 

Christian Science 16 

Catholic 3676 

Apostolic 124 

Socialist 12 
No preference 147 

In the same census were listed 27 nationalities, among them: 

American 3068 

English 234 

German 1390 

Polish 1532 

Italian 179 

A religious census was also taken in the City of Rockville in 
1955, and revealed the following: 

Protestants 6077 

Roman Catholic 5812 
Jewish 315 













Title Page 

The Elementary Schools of Vernon 211 

The High School in Vernon 215 

The Franklin Lyceum 218 

The Development of Education in Rockville 219 

Northeast District School 229 

The High School Committee 237 

The George Sykes Manual Training School 241 

High School Graduates, Principals and Superintendents 247 

The West District School 249 

The Maple Street Schools 251 

Annual Awards 252 

Dedicatory Exercises of the Vernon Elementary School 254 

Interesting Records of Vernon Town Committee 255 

The Rockville Public Library 268 


Title Page 

First Brick School 222 

East School 226 

Northeast District School, Hale Street 228 

Talcottville School 233 

Old High School .235 

Sykes Manual Training School . 241 

West District School 248 

Maple Street New School 251 

Vernon Elementary School 255 

New Northeast District Elementary School 267 

Rockville Public Library 268 




Religion and education went hand in hand. As soon as set- 
tlements were made, first the meeting house was erected, and al- 
most simultaneously action was taken toward the erection of a 
schoolhouse. A School Society was established, a self-appointed 
representative committee of the parish interested in school matters. 
The earliest schoolhouses were built in the southern part of the 
town — Vernon Center, Dobsonville, Phoenixville and Valley Falls. 
At a town meeting at Vernon Center on November 28, 1793, with 
Mr. Caleb Talcott as Moderator and Lemuel King as Clerk, it was 
voted to build a schoolhouse. Other interesting and important ac- 
tions of that first meeting and later ones as reported in an old 
Record Book of North Bolton in the possession of the Selectmen's 

Voted to set the schoolhouse between Mr. John's and the hill 
east of there on the north side of that highway. (There is reason 
to believe the site was opposite the dwelling house of Mr. Henry 
Marcham, which was built in 1762 and still stands on the south- 
side of the highway.) 

Chose Mr. Ira West and Hezekiah Loomis as committee to 
hire a person or persons to build said schoolhouse. 

Voted to pay for building schoolhouse by making a tax on the 
list August 20, 1793. 

Voted that the Person or Persons that should agree with said 
Committee to build the house engage to have it finished by the 
first day of November next, and should bind themselves to do it 
off as well as the house of M. Pearl. (The Pearls' property stood 
a little west of Marchams'.) 

Voted to pay said person or persons in money by the first 
November next. 

Voted that said house be twenty feet long and seventeen feet 

A year later, November 4, 1794, at a school meeting holden at 
the schoolhouse, it was voted to accept the schoolhouse according 
to agreement; Mr. Eli Hammond, the school committee, was in- 
structed to hire a Master and set up a schoolroom. It was voted 
that the price for three feet wood be five shillings, and that each 



member of the District have liberty to fetch his proportion of wood 
for the scholars he sends. 

Protecting the Property: 

It was voted on October 22, 1795, that there be a fine of 50 
cents for a square of glass that is broken in either of the windows 
in the schoolhouse. If not replaced within the ten days after it 
was broken by their parents, guardians or masters, and if the said 
parents, guardians or masters should refuse to do the same, the 
committee is impowered to collect the same of the delinquent and 
his cost. 

Money for winter and summer schools: 

Mr. Leonard Rogers was the school committee in 1796, and 
it was voted that he hire a master and set up a school by the first 
of December, and that he lay out two-thirds of the money in the 
winter and the other in a summer school. 

A School Society was formed in October, 1796. At this meet- 
ing a committee was appointed to "procure Masters and Misses in 
their respective districts." The following are the names of that 
committee: Reuben Skinner, Talcott Flint, John Olcott, Leonard 
Rogers, Benjamin Talcott, Jr., and Elijah Johns. 

The first meetings of this School Society were held in the old 
meeting house of North Bolton. In 1808, a committee was ap- 
pointed to visit and inspect the various schools of the town. The 
first committee so appointed consisted of Scottoway Hinckley, 
Oliver King, Benjamin Talcott, Jr., and Thomas H. Kellogg. 

Salary of a Teacher for the summer: 

On March 12, 1798, it was voted to hire Mabel Richardson 
four months this summer at six shillings and sixpence per week. 
Voted to pay by the Poll after the public money is used. In the 
same year, it was voted that the Committee hire a man to white- 
wash the schoolhouse as cheap as possible. 

Prices for wood, painting and boarding: 

The meeting on April 5, 1799, voted to give one dollar per cord 
for three feet of wood for the coming winter; one dollar per week 
for Boarding the School Master this winter; and it was decided 
to raise a tax of one cent on the dollar on last August's list to paint 
the schoolhouse and building of a new chimney. 

Four years later it was voted to give seven shillings for each 
cord of firewood, three feet long, corded at the schoolhouse. 


Allowance of wood per scholar: 

On October 31, 1805, it was voted that each scholar that at- 
tend this school shall get half cord three feet wood by the 16th 
day of November next, the wood to be chopped and corded at 
the schoolhonse, and be liable to his proportion of board, if said 
wood is not gotten by that time shall pay cash for each half cord 
of wood not got. 

Improvements to Property: 

In 1815 it was voted to take down the chimney to the school- 
honse and rebuild with brick and tax the District on list of 1814 
to pay the expense of building the chimney. 

Cutting down expenses: The meeting on October 29, 1821, 
voted to get a quarter cord of 18-inch wood to a scholar instead 
of half cord, but in 1829 Otis McLean agreed to get the wood at 
eighty-seven cents per cord, payable at the first of April, 1831. In 
that year of 1829, it was voted that the State Fund money be ap- 
propriated ($33.50) for winter school, society tax to pay for sum- 
mer school. 

Teacher's Salary: On March the 27th of 1839, it was voted to 
pay the teacher $1.50 per week, provided she will board at home 
over the Sabbath, and do her washing free of charge. 

Building a schoolhouse in the northeast district: On April 
15, 1839, the meeting voted to build a schoolhouse in the north- 
east district at a cost of $300 to be raised on the list of 1840, pay- 
able in January, 1841. A building committee was appointed con- 
sisting of Thaddeus C. Bruce, Elijah Chapman, Austin Tilden. 

It was a one-room schoolbuilding on the Hartford Turnpike, 
Route 30, opposite the Gilbert Ahearn home, on the south side of 
the turnpike. It was later moved to the east side of East Street, 
opposite Hale Street, on the south side of the western entrance to 
the Fair Grounds (Hyde Park). 

This old school building is now the ell part of the home of 
Mrs. Alfred Henke, of New York, who visits Rockville and occu- 
pies the home week ends. So the old Northeast School building 
is now the kitchen, pantry and bathroom of Mrs. Alfred Henke's 

Repairing the old schoolhouse: The question of repairing the 
old schoolhouse or building a new one came up for discussion, and 
on November 7, 1840, it was voted to make a thorough repair on 


the old schoolhouse. This amounted to -$249.79 and a tax of thir- 
teen cents on the Grand List paid the bill. 

Question of teacher's salary : In October, 1841, it was voted 
to hire Capt. Smith if he can be hired for eighteen dollars per 
month for yearly months, he boarding himself over the Sabbath 
and do his washing. The next year it was voted that we set up a 
school for the term of five months, with a vacation of two weeks 
in the middle of the term, provided that a teacher can be had for 
the sum of one dollar a week, and board in the district, said school 
to commence on the first Monday in May next. 

Defining the Boundary Line: Thaddeus C. Bruce was ap- 
pointed agent to apply to the school society to have the boundary 
line of the northeast school district defined on the north. This 
was in May, 1844. At the same meeting it was voted that we au- 
thorize the teacher to take charge of the children going to and 
returning from the school and also at intermission. [Even then, 
some pupils were as wayward as the March winds.] 

On September 30, 1847, it was voted to postpone moving the 
schoolhouse to the center of district, and instruct the committee 
to make necessary repairs and paint the schoolhouse. 

Schoolhouse moved to Center: About the year 1850 the small 
schoolhouse on the hill was moved to the center to meet the needs 
of a growing population. It stood for twenty years opposite the 
present Congregational Church on a site which later became the 
Willes property. 

In the year 1870 it was moved near the church, a second story 
was added to it, and still stands, no longer a schoolhouse but as a 
fire house. 

Effort to build another schoolhouse failed: On October 21, 
1850, a motion was made that the scholars on the north side of 
the stream that runs from Snipsic Pond have the money they draw 
to set up another school. The motion being put, it was found to 
stand thus — 6 in favor of the motion and 21 against. 

The tax per scholar per day: March 17, 1858, voted that there 
be a tax of three quarters of a cent on the attendance of each 
scholar per day. 

Voted that those who live out of the district be taxed one and 
a quarter cents on the attendance. 

Desire for a Library: December 13, 1858, voted that this dis- 
trict appropriate ten dollars for a district library. Voted that L. H. 


Chapman be appointed a Committee to draw the money from the 
State Treasury. Voted that L. H. Chapman and T. C. Bruce be 
appointed a committee to confer with the Board of Education in 
reference to a library and to purchase the books. 

School Visitations: Voted on September 30, 1859, that a com- 
mittee be appointed to visit the school once in three weeks. 

Voters at Meetings of School Board: On October 7, 1859, 
voted that all those who are not legal voters to "set by themselves." 

Northeast School District fails to make report: The North- 
east School District having failed to make their annual appoint- 
ment of officers legally, we, the members of the Board of School 
Visitors do hereby appoint Hubbard Tucker for District Commit- 
tee and L. H. Chapman clerk and treasurer for the remaining part 
of this school year 1860-1. 

L. G. Risley 

P. H. Talcott 

A. C. Crosbv — School Visitors. 

Paying the Tax Collector: On September 23, 1861, voted that 
we proceed to an informal ballot for committees. 

Voted to allow the collector two cents on a dollar for col- 
lecting the taxes. 

The last meeting recorded in the book is an adjourned school 
meeting held at the schoolhouse October 7, 1861. 

Voted to hire a teacher to commence the School first Mondav 
of November. Voted that the Committee be instructed to purchase 
what wood is necessary. 


In the fall of 1829. the Vernon School Societv voted "to estab- 
lish a school of a higher order," and appointed a committee to 
carrv this vote into effect. A similar vote was passed annual lv 
with but three or four exceptions until 1856 when the School So- 
cieties were abolished, and the schools came under the control 
of the towns. The school thus established was held, during winter 
terms only, in the upper room of the school house of the Center 
District, and was the "upper school" for that district, which fur- 
nished a large proportion of its scholars, but it was also the "High 
School" for the whole town, until the growth of Rockville called 


also for a similar school in that part of the town. 

The people of Vernon were greatly interested in the subject of 
education, especially during the first part of the period under re- 
view. The High School was usually well kept, and many of the 
pupils made good use of their privileges. Besides advanced classes 
in the studies taught in the district schools, there were classes in 
Algebra, Geometry, and Mental and Natural Philosophy; and some- 
times in Chemistry, Surveying, Logic and other "higher branches" 
of learning. A few students in Latin and Greek received here a 
part of their preparation for college. Special attention was given 
to Composition and Declamation, and there were often thought to 
be marked indications of genius in the exercises of those Wednes- 
day afternoons. More ambitious efforts were made in the "ex- 
hibitions" which often closed the school term. 

There are men now sedate with cares and years, from Con- 
necticut to California, who, with some mild mistrust of their own 
identity, recall the enthusiasm with which they appeared before 
crowded audiences in the "Conference Room" of the church at 
Vernon, declaiming choice extracts in prose or verse, arrayed in 
robes befitting their "parts" in dialogues. There were giants in 
those days — some school masters of the old-fashioned art — stern 
embodiments of wisdom, whims and crotchets. 

It is not easy to ascertain who were the teachers of this High 
School through all its period. Here is a partial list — Theodore L. 
Wright, 1829-30 and 1830-31; highly successful; Mr. Knox, 1831-32; 
George C. Partridge, 1832-33; Alvan Talcott, 1833-34; Brewster 
Lyman, 1834-35; Mr. McCall, 1835-36; Francis L. Dickinson, 1836-37 
and 1837-38; Mr. Nills, 1838-39; Homer Sears, 1839-40; Charles S. 
Minor, 1840-41; Stephen Fenn, 1848-49; William R. Lyon, 1855-56. 
Partridge and Graves graduated from Amherst; Minor and Fenn 
from Yale; and Lyon from Williams. 

Before the High School was established, there was a select 
school in the winter of 1815-16, taught by Julius Steele Barnes. It 
was kept in the red house, then standing opposite the present Post 
Office, and had an attendance of 30 to 40 scholars. Barnes had 
recently graduated from Yale College, and after graduation taught 
school for a time, and then began the study of medicine in the 
Yale Medical School, where he received the degree of M.D. in 

George Cotton Patridge, who taught in 1832-33, was a grad- 
uate of Amherst College in the class of 1833. He was born in 


Hatfield, Massachusetts, August 27, 1813, and was fitted for college 
at Hopkins Academy, Hadley. He was a member of Andover 
Seminary one year, 1835-36, and became a tutor in Amherst Col- 
lege in 1837. 

Alvan Talcott, who taught in 1833-34, graduated from Yale 
College with the class of 1824. He was born in Vernon, Connecti- 
cut, on August 17, 1804. After leaving college he was engaged 
for five years in teaching, then studied in Yale Medical School, 
receiving the degree of M.D. in 1831. He began his professional 
life in Vernon, but in 1841 removed to Guilford, Connecticut, where 
he continued in active practice for about forty years. He died 
there, of old age, on January 17, 1891, in his 87th year. 

Francis Lemuel Dickinson, who taught in 1836-37, was born 
in Portland, then part of Chatham, Connecticut, on January 29, 
1817. He graduated from Yale in 1840. On his graduation he set- 
tled at first in Hampton, and a year later in Willington, as a phy- 
sician and removed thence to Rockville in the summer of 1863. 
He represented Willington in the General Assembly in 1850 and 
1857, and Vernon in 1875; and for three years (1877-79) he was a 
member of the State Senate. His wife was a daughter of Colonel 
Francis McLean, of Vernon. 

Charles Sherman Minor, who taught 1840-41, was born in 
Washington, Connecticut, January 11, 1817, graduated from Yale 
in the class of 1841. After graduation he taught at the Academy 
in Wellsborough, Pennsylvania, two years, then returned to Yale 
Law School, and was admitted to the Bar in New Haven. 

Stephen Fenn, who taught in 1848-49, was born in Plymouth, 
Connecticut, October 6, 1824, graduated from Yale in the class of 
1849. The two years after his graduation were spent in teaching 
in Connecticut, then he entered on the preparation for the min- 
istry in the Yale Divinity School. Two years later he was ordained 
in the Congregational Ministry in 1854. He supplied the pulpit in 
Vernon in 1874 and later in Wapping, where he resided until his 

William Richards Lyon, who taught in 1855-56, was born in 
Genoa, New York, May 6, 1834, and in 1858 graduated from Wil- 
liams College, Massachusetts. His father, Moses Lyon, was a 
native of Connecticut and the son of Deacon Caleb Lyon, a gun- 
smith, who made and repaired guns for the American soldiers in 
the Revolutionary War. After graduation he devoted himself to 


the studv of law. and in the winter of 1860 he attended the Uni- 
versity of Michigan and was admitted to the practice of law in 1863. 

We have furnished details of the training of these seven men 
to show the high standard of the High School of Vernon in the first 
half of the nineteenth centurv. 

Further e^dence of the intelligence of the Vernon citizens of 
a centurv ago is reflected in the 



Organized Januarv 25. 1848 

( A copv of which mav be seen in the State Librarv at Hartford ) 

Article I — This Societv shall be known as the Franklin Lvceum. 
Article II — The officers of this Societv shall consist of a President. 

and Secretary, the former to be chosen at each meeting of the 

Societv. for the next following discussion. 
There were 43 members and E. H. Lathrop was the first president. 
Meetings will be weeklv on Thursdav evenings at 6!o o'clock. 

Here are a few of the questions discussed: 

Question — Which can be dispensed with from Societv the best the 
Lawver or the Phvsician? 

Which is the greater evil — Intemperance or Slavery? 
Would secret societies receive the approbation of the 
people of this Countrv or anv other? 
Does the addition of Territorv to our Union increase 
our National Strength? 

Which has the greater influence upon mankind, the 
fear of punishment or hope of reward? 
Which has the most influence in Societv. Males or Fe- 

Should our State Legislature have the power of grant- 
ing divorces? 

All gentlemen belonging to the Rockville Lvceum will be ad- 
mitted as honorarv members. 

[The Rockville Lvceum was known as the Mutual Improvement 
Societv which met in the popular Lecture Room, near the First 
Congregational Church of Rockville.] 

O O J 


The building of the Rock Mill in 1821 brought an increasing 
number of families into the village and schools became necessary. 
In the East District the first school was kept in the year 1828 in 
the parlor of a house built for George Kellogg in the New Eng- 
land yard. A school was started wherever there was available a 
room in a private house. In 1834 there was a school in the old 
Martin house which stood where Judge D wight Loomis lived later 
on the east corner of Park and Prospect Streets. 

Another small school accommodated a number of children 
over the first store at the corner of School and Park Streets. 

On November 17, 1836, a meeting of the legal voters of the 
Rock School District was held at the office of the Rock Company. 
Willard Fuller acted as chairman. Three persons were "appointed 
with the school committee to procure a room for the school." It 
was voted "that school be kept four months the ensuing season," 
and that "warnings for school meetings shall be put on the door 
of the store now occupied bv J. F. Judd & Company." Lucius 
Hinckley was chosen "to procure a subscription for defraying the 
expenses of room, wood, store, etc." 

A building was erected upon the ground now known as the 
Snipsic Block, corner of Park Place and Park Street. It became 
known as the lecture room, and in it was rented a room fitted 
with desks and chairs for school uses. The upper floor was used 
exclusively for Sundav sendees, the pulpit being at the north end, 
and the choir on a raised platform at the other end. In the rear 
room on the first floor was the schoolroom. 

In the year 1837 it was voted "that school be kept three 
months and longer unless there shall be objection on the part of 
any members, and each person was assessed in proportion to the 
number of scholars he sent." It was also decided that "a school 
commence as soon as a teacher can be procured." Up to the vear 
1839 there was but one grade. 

In 1841 persons living out of the district were permitted to 
send scholars to the school bv paving their portion of the expense. 

The lecture room supplied the wants of the people in the 
East District for several years, though the accommodation was 
inadequate, and the Sears building on Market Street was fitted 
up as a public hall and a schoolhouse. 



In the Report of the Superintendent of Schools of Connecticut 
the town of Vernon is listed under Tolland County as having eight 
school districts and 439 school children in 1845. The report for 
1848 states that "some of the teachers have made praiseworthy 
efforts to do their duty. The schools have been examined accord- 
ing to law, so that the public money has been secured." 

In 1849 we read: 

"Since the last year's report of the Vernon School 
Society, that Society has been divided by the Legislature, 
and two districts have been set off to form a new society 
in Rockville, leaving six districts in the old society. In 
these Districts, efforts have been made by the Visiting 
Committee for the improvement of the schools, in some 
with a good degree of success; in others, with very little. 
In three of the six Districts, outline maps have been intro- 
duced; in five small globes, and charts of the elementary 
sounds of the language." 

In that same year, a vote was taken on the question — "wheth- 
er we will do anything the present season toward building a new 
schoolhouse. Vote taken by ballot — 21 yeas, 2 nays." Phineas 
Talcott, William T. Cogswell and A. C. Crosby were made a com- 
mittee, "to see what can be done toward procuring a site for a 
schoolhouse, and also ascertain the expense and report at a future 

One week later, April 21, 1849, the report of said committee 
was made and accepted. A committee of five was then chosen 
to investigate the subject further and report at the next meeting. 
The committee were Messrs. Cogswell and Talcott of the former 
board together with J. N. Stickney, S. P. Rose and A. Hammond. 

On May 1, 1849, it was "unanimously voted that this meet- 
ing is in favor of a lot on the Tavern Company's land," and the 
committee appointed to select a site was instructed to negotiate 
for the lot. On May 11, the committee reported that they had con- 
tracted for the lot, and A. Hammond, Wm. T. Cogswell and C. 
Burdick were appointed "to make a plan and estimate of expenses 
for the building." (The Tavern Company was the Rockville House 
Company. ) 

The plan was accepted on May 18, 1849, and it was voted 
"that the District will proceed to erect a suitable house for the Dis- 


A building committee was appointed — Messrs. Cogswell, Ham- 
mond and Stickney. It was voted "that the Building Committee 
report a plan of a schoolhouse of the size and general character 
of the one they have seen in Springfield." On May 25, 1849, the 
report was made and accepted. 

The building committee was directed to build in accordance 
with their report. It was voted "that they be authorized to bor- 
row money to complete the schoolhouse, and give their votes for 
the same." On November 5, it was voted "to raise the sum of 13 
cents on a dollar on the list of 1849 for the purpose of defraying 
in part the expense of building the schoolhouse now being com- 
pleted." Incidentally the building committee put a bell on the 
new house. 

Therefore in the year 1849 the first brick schoolhouse was 
built by William T. Cogswell. In the period of the Gold Rush 
when the shy young man, James Wilson Marshall, stooped down 
in the sleepy village of Colonia, and picked up the first gold found 
in California, the sum of $10,000 was set aside for the purpose, 
to cover the complete cost of building and furnishing the school. 
It was erected on School Street, where the East District School 
playground now faces the Palace Theater. 

In this brick building the entire High School system of Vernon 
was actually born, the first regular school building for both the 
lower and higher grades. This marked the beginning of our mod- 
ern system of education. It was occupied on the first day of Janu- 
ary, 1850, when citizens listened to an address by Mr. Mason, "for 
which he received a vote of thanks." The cost of the school was 
met by a tax on the property of the inhabitants of the East School 

A set of rules was presented by Rev. Andrew Sharpe, pastor 
of the Second Congregational Church 1849-1851, having reference 
to schoolhouse and grounds: Rule 1 — That teachers be in their 
places fifteen minutes before commencing school exercises; Rule 2 
— As both the teachers and pupils need the blessing of God the 
morning exercises should be commenced with reading Scriptures 
and with prayer; Rule 3 — The school should be held for the usual 
time on each secular day of the week except Saturday, when no 
session shall be holden in the afternoons; Rule 4 — pertains to venti- 
lation, temperature and care of the premises; Rule 5 — gives direc- 
tion as to keeping registers; Rule 6 — gives teachers authority to 
make such rules for the discipline, classification, and internal order 



of the school as thev deem necessarv and expedient, subject to 
approval of the board of visitors; Rule 7 — a recess of ten minutes 
is allowed to all in each session. In the primarv department an 
additional ten minutes is given. Rule 8 — provision is made for the 
removal of refractorv scholars: Rule 9 — enjoins the pupils to "ab- 
stain from indolence, deception, profanitv. and all wicked and 
dishonorable practices." 

The erection of this school gave Rockville a high reputation. 
True, there was much criticism bv a few taxpayers. Thev claimed 
its size was enormous and never would be required for school 
purposes. Their fathers lived through tiieir school davs occupy- 
ing seats made of slabs and planks, with legs made of round wood 
placed through two-inch auger holes in either end of the bench and 
wedged in on top of the bench to hold them fast, said they, the 
schoolhouses of those davs. with furniture, did not cost more than 
*200, shovel, tongs, andirons, and all! 

In 1850 a tax was laid of 15 cents on the dollar; in 1851. the 
tax was 13 cents; in 1852. 12 cents; and in 1853, 10 cents. 

The Superintendent of Schools of Connecticut, in his report of 
1851, has this word of praise for Vernon School Society: 


"There is only one town — the town of Vernon — in 
which a uniformity of text-books in the schools has been 
secured. In some other societies, attempts have been made, 
books have been recommended, and in part introduced. 
But in no other has the object aimed at bv the law been 
accomplished, bv the ruling out of all books except those 
prescribed by the School Visitors, and the classing to- 
gether of all scholars of the same attainments, in the same 

At the meeting of the School Visitors of Rockville, in October 
last ( 1851 ) the question was asked, "Is there a common school in 
Tolland Countv that has a permanent teacher?" But there was no 
response. "In one district in Rockville, however, the same female 
teacher has taught the smaller children the greater part of the 
time for the last four vears. The two districts in that societv have 
also hired each a male teacher for a vear. Besides these, I am not 
aware of anv movement in our schools towards this kind of perma- 
nence. In all the districts in Rockville and Vernon, outline maps, 
globes, and charts of the sounds are found. 

Continuing, the report states: "The highest wages of female 
teachers that I have been able to report were those of the teachers 
in the center district in Rockville, two dollars and fiftv cents a week 
and board in one case, and five dollars a week including board in 
another. The his;hest salarv of a male teacher, so far as I am in- 
formed, is that of the teacher of the West District in Rockville. 
four hundred and fiftv dollars a vear and board himself. ( Of 
this, however, $250 is paid bv private subscription. ) " 

The first principal in the new brick schoolhouse was a Mr. 
Mason, of Boston, who remained onlv one season. He was. how- 
ever, popular among pupils. He took an active part in all their 
programs of sports. 

After Mr. Mason came Emorv F. Strong in 1859. a native of 
Bolton, Connecticut, a college graduate, and a competent, energetic, 
popular teacher. He did much to grade up and improve the 
schools. Subsequent teachers, however, were less successful. 

Public sentiment remained antagonistic to higher crrade 
schools. Finallv. in a hotlv contested District School meeting, a 
committee was elected who would not emplov a college graduate. 
Fortunatelv thev builded better than thev knew, for an excep- 
tionally fine principal, John M. Turner, was engaged, and to him 
the educational interests of Rockville owe a debt of gratitude. 


Mr. Turner was succeeded bv Mortimer Warren, a graduate 
of the New Britain Normal School. He was an able teacher, but 
a little too progressive and optimistic, and endeavored to stir up 
the people to build at once a town High School. The effort was 
premature, for the citizens were not vet readv. 

On September 14, 1853, it was voted "that the district com- 
mittee be authorized to prepare a suitable place for the library." 
The building was insured for -85,000. In October, the furnaces 
were removed from the schoolhouse and it was warmed by the use 
of wood stoves. The district committee was directed not to hire 
more than two teachers for the upper room unless the number of 
scholars should exceed ninetv. The principal was also forbidden 
to admit scholars who did not belong in the district. 

On March 10, 1856, the district voted "to defer the purchase 
of a bell till the schoolhouse be paid for." The district committee 
was directed to retain Mr. Turner as teacher for the year ensuing, 
and to procure seats for the school room. 

In the year 1856 a State law abolished the School Societies and 
transferred the school jurisdiction from the parish back to the town. 

In November, 1857, voted "that all studies except the English 
branches be excluded from the school." In 1858 voted "that the 
school be kept five and one-half days each week and three hours 
each half-dav." In 1859 the tuition of anv scholar admitted to the 
His;h School from out of the district was fixed at thirty cents per 

At a meeting held on September 21, 1860, various matters were 
discussed — the sale of a portion of the school lot; the expense of 
a well, and the widening of the road running past the schoolhouse, 
and on October 5, William R. Orcutt, committee on fence and 
well, reported that the fence could be built at 83.75 per rod, and 
a well would cost anvwhere from 850 to 8500. 

In 1861 it was "resolved that pupils shall not be permitted to 
congregate in the school vard near the schoolhouse, to make use of 
the same as a common plavground, but shall be restricted to the use 
of the vard and the schoolhouse park." 

In 1862, voted "that the Committee be instructed to substitute 
larger stove pipes than those now in use." The Committee was 
instructed "to consult with the Visiting Committee in selecting 
teachers, and that this be a permanent vote." 

At a special meeting November 29, the district committee was 


instructed to procure a bell for the schoolhouse at a cost not ex- 
ceeding '$40.00, but on December 30, it was moved by Cyrus 
White "that a special committee be appointed to exchange the bell 
belonging to the schoolhouse for a good one, and that the same 
be paid for from funds of the district." So voted. Also "that a 
sum not exceeding $150 be appropriated for the purchase of a 
bell." Voted "that the district committee be instructed to procure 
kerosene lamps sufficient to light the school room." 

In 1864 it was resolved "that hereafter the district committee- 
man shall receive $50 as compensation for one year's service pro- 
vided he shall serve a longer period than one year." 

In 1865 the plan of building a wing on the west end of the 
brick schoolhouse was again proposed and on July 14, it was voted 
"to rent and fix up J. P. Gaynor's barn, for 86 additional scholars." 
(It has been established that originally Gaynor's barn, which stood 
on the present site of Krause's Bakery, corner of Gaynor Place and 
Prospect Street, was a tavern.) 

In 1866 the district voted to procure a musical instrument for 
the upper school at a cost of not more than $250. 

The Connecticut Board of Education in its report for 1866 
quotes Dr. S. G. Risley, School Visitor of Rockville: 

"The people in both districts of the village have shown 
a growing interest in the cause of education. School meet- 
ings have been attended more and more fully when the 
prospects and interest of the schools have been freely de- 
bated and acted upon. Schools have been visited bv par- 
ents and friends, but thus pupils and teachers have been 
cheered and encouraged in their tasks and labors. The 
subject of a High School is seriouslv agitated, and when 
we have hit upon the best plan, and business is a little 
more prosperous, I think we shall have a High School 
that will be a credit to the town." 

And in 1868 the same State Board of Education quotes J. N. 
Stickney ( Rockville ) : 

"We have a reading room association, subscription 
$21/9 a year — 15 or 20 papers and magazines. We hope 
this will grow into a library association, which we esteem 
of great value as an educational force. The voung people 
of such a place as Rockville would be greatly benefitted 
by having the free use of a well selected library, and we 



indulge the hope that the time is not very far distant when 
such an institution will exist here." 

A meeting was held in the Methodist Conference Room on 
Monday, January 13, 1868, agitating for a High School. The town 
was widely known for stability, energy, activity and forethought. 
The Board of Selectmen of the Town of Vernon was urged to call 
a special town meeting "to see if the town will erect a suitable 
building for a town High School." The sorry fact was pointed 
out that there was no public library, no reading room, no lyceum 
or course of lectures this winter. 

In the meantime, the important school of the East District 
in 1869 was divided into three primary departments: the first, 
the second and third; and the upper department. Mr. Mortimer 
A. Warren had just resigned as principal of the upper school, and 
was succeeded by Mr. John T. Clarke, whose teaching experience 
had been gained as principal for several years at the Nichols Acad- 
emy, Dudley, Massachusetts, and in the New Jersey Normal School 
at Trenton. He kept a tight rein on discipline. The school was 
composed of "large scholars, far enough advanced to be by them- 











selves," and quite "a number of smaller ones who had been crowd- 
ed out of the lower rooms for lack of adequate space." 

The population of the town was fast increasing. The steady 
growth in the manufacture and development of new industries 
called for additional labor, and the consequence was there was a 
large influx of families. The large brick schoolhouse had proved 

It is of interest to note that more than thirty years later, 1903 
to 1909, J. Henry McCray, a builder and contractor, gave instruction 
in manual training on the first floor of this old schoolhouse. Mc- 
Cray was the architect and builder of the Prescott Block, the 
Central Fire Station, St. Joseph's School and Martin's Fish Line 

An enumeration of scholars between the ages of four and six- 
teen in January, 1870, showed — 

Rockville East District 690 

Rockville West District 292 

Centre 50 

Southwest 99 


So on March 7, 1870, it was voted to build two new school 
edifices — one of brick 52 feet by 72 feet, situated near the extrem- 
ity of the District's grounds on School Street, capacity for 400 pu- 
pils in eight rooms, three stories high including basement at a cost 
not to exceed $13,000; and a primary schoolhouse smaller and less 
pretentious, on Vernon Avenue, near the house of Andrew Kemp. 
The contractor was John G. Bailey. This second brick schoolhouse 
on School Street still serves as a school. 

In September, 1870, the East District School opened under a 
new principal. Mr. Randall Spaulding, a young man of energy 
and thorough scholarship, came to the head of this school, with the 
understanding that he was to organize a High School course. 
When the school opened, the building was too crowded and too 
small to make a satisfactory grading possible. When the winter 
term opened, however, the two new buildings which had been 
completed in the interim improved accommodations. 

These two additional schools soon proved insufficent, and for 
nearly twenty years the question was agitated for erecting a High 
School by the town, thus relieving the District Schools of the more 
advanced pupils. 



A very important decision was reached at the annual town 
meeting on October 3, 1870, when it was 

Resolved that hereafter the town shall maintain schools 
in all the Districts in the town forty weeks in every year; 
and these weeks shall be divided into three terms — winter, 
spring, and autumn. The winter term shall commence on 
the first Monday after Thanksgiving Day and continue 
fifteen weeks; the Spring term shall commence on the first 
Monday in April and continue twelve weeks; the Autumn 
term shall commence on the first Monday in September 
and continue thirteen weeks. 




In the year 1870, the North East District School on Hale 
Street was built. The Tolland County Journal of October 15. 
1870, gives the report of the School Visitors. A portion of that 
report reads: 

"The North East District has done nobly. Though 
deprived by construction of districts in town of more than 
one-third of their territory and of their scholars, yet they 
have within the year erected a fine new school on a pleas- 
ant and central site. 

"The expense of said building being about $3,000 — 
size on the ground 26 by 50 feet — capable of accommo- 
dating 60 scholars or more." Miss Julia O'Keefe, now 
83 years of age, taught in the school for many years, and 
Harry N. Pinney, now 86 years of age, was a pupil in the 

A reporter in Tolland County Journal in 1873 tells of his 
visits to the schools: 

Last Friday we made a tour cf a number of schools 
in the East District. It was music day, and the way the 
quavers and semi-quavers were made to dance and sing, 
and the rollicking young voices went up and down the 
musical ladder, was a caution to those having no ears for 

Mr. Irving Emerson goes through the schools in the 
East District, taking two schools at a time in one room for 
drill and exercise. This gives the music teacher personal 
contact with seventy-five to one hundred scholars at each 
lesson, supported and aided by the obliging lady teachers, 
whose schools are, for the time being, united. The musi- 
cal exercises are engaged in every Friday afternoon. Once 
a month, the schools are mustered in full force in the 
High School room for an hour's practice. Today is their 

A week ago we loitered for an hour or two in the 
High School, under the care of Mr. Raymond and Miss 



Hutchins. Visitors will here find a variety of engaging 
exercises, from dry excavations for Greek roots and Latin 
derivatives to the more elevated recitations in physical 
geography (especially elevated when the lesson takes in 
hills and mountains), even to the twinkling stars among 
the wonderful revelations of astronomical science. The 
pleasant recitation which we heard in astronomy was upon 
the Constellations — a beautiful and fascinating branch of 
this ennobling study. Shakesperian readings is one of the 
regular afternoon exercises — the passage read in our hear- 
ing, from King Lear, evinced pleasing progress in the 
all-important study -reading. 

An addition has recently been made to the philosoph- 
ical apparatus of this school purchased from funds taken 
from its own treasury, among other things, an air-pump 
is noticeable. 

On August 2, 1872, this surprising record of overworked stu- 
dents appears: 

"The school year is apparently a fortnight too long 
for the older scholars who are obliged to study at home. 
Many were exhausted and left before the close of the 

It was announced that the branches to be pursued in the 
High School in the Fall term of 1872 would be: By the senior 
class — Cicero, Xenophon's Anabasis, Classical Manual, etc.; by the 
Senior middle class — Cicero's Select Orations, German Selections 
from standard German authors, Geometry, English composition 
and Exercises in reading from Shakespeare. There will be a class 
beginning Latin, and possibly one beginning German. Other 
classes will recite in Rhetoric, Algebra, Arithmetic, English Gram- 
mar and Analysis, Geography, descriptive and physical, Spelling, 
etc. This High School was called "The Knowledge Box." 

In the summer of 1873, the first graduation class consisting 
of two brothers, Edwin G. and Thomas D. Goodell, went out. 
What a wonderful beginning! These young men entered Yale 
College, from which they graduated in 1877 with distinguished 
honor. Thomas D. was appointed master of the Hartford Gram- 
mar School in 1877, being thus also a member of the faculty of Hart- 
ford Public High School. He held the position of Hopkins Gram- 


mar School master for eleven years, in 1888 becoming a professor 
in Yale University. 

Judge G. W. West tells a good story of that graduation at a 
Rockville High School Reunion fifteen years later at White's Opera 
House. Said he: 

"There was a sort of spasm of economy in 1873. I 
felt that the graduates must be given diplomas. The cost 
would be about two dollars. I thought I could save a 
little to the town by having the diplomas engrossed. So 
I got a young man in Hartford to do it. He executed 
them in a very artistic manner, but charged me eleven dol- 
lars. Of course, I paid it very cheerfully, and never asked 
for re-embursement from any source. I felt satisfied that 
I had got my money's worth, if not in diplomas, surely in 
experience. Thereafter the diplomas were printed." 

In the fall of 1874 an entrance examination to the High School 
was established. This required a knowledge of the usual gram- 
mar school studies. At the same time, a course was made out for 
the High School, a thing which it had been found practically im- 
possible to maintain before the entrance examination. This course 
was designed to give simply an outline of what was studied there. 
It has been slightly changed from time to time as experience in its 
working has seemed to demand. Rather more attention is given 
to arithmetic and general history than in the first draft. The ef- 
fect has been to make the work easier and more useful as scholars 
are taken at an early age, and as the school year is not long, the 
course was made to occupy five years. 

In 1875, January 15, voted "to partition off the upper story of 
the new school building into four rooms, and to purchase new and 
larger seats for the High School room, taking those now in use 
there for the new rooms made as above." Much comment was 
made at the installation of the desks. These desks had a type of 
cover that lifted up so that it was perpendicular to the desk proper. 
The board of education and the teachers were concerned about the 
shield that such a desk would offer a student, if he should open it 
up. The learned educators thought that these pieces of furniture 
would "conceal the class sleepers, idlers and mischief makers." 
Later, the faculty agreed that the desks were completely satisfac- 
tory and the flimsy little protestations passed off like April showers. 

In 1877, the school issued a small publication called the 


"R.H.S.", which made comment about different phases of school 
life — Logic, Latin, Greek, etc. — The pupils had to attend school 
five and one-half days per week, three hours per half day — Teach- 
ers strict, study periods unheard of — School Saturdays. 

The School Report for 1877 discloses: 

Number of children January 1, 1877 — 1746, an in- 
crease of 103 over the previous year. A new primary 
department has been opened in the East District. There 
are now in the Town 26 schools or departments — 13 in the 
East District, six in the West District, 2 in the Southwest, 
and one in each of the other districts. 

In June, 1877, action was taken looking toward a new mode 
of heating the school rooms: "It is desirable that something be 
done speedily to avoid the present necessity of breathing air heav- 
ily charged with coal gas." 

In 1878 the number of school children in the town of Vernon 
was 1606—870 in the East District, 383 in the West, 110 in the 
Northwest, 109 in the Northeast, 52 in the South, 40 in the Center, 
23 in the Southeast and 19 in the Southwest. 

In June of 1878, the Board of Education voted "to reduce 
the salaries of the lady teachers of the town fifteen per cent, and 
ordered that not over $1200 be paid to the principal of the High 
School and $800 to the principal at the West District." The West 
District at their school meeting voted "to retain their principal, Mr. 
Haywood, at $1,000, appropriating the necessary $200 from the 
District treasury." They had been paying $1,200. 

The comely and convenient schoolhouse at Talcottville, the 
noble gift of the Talcott Brothers, was fittingly dedicated on Fri- 
day, August 27, 1880. Exercises of an interesting character con- 
sisted of remarks by C. D. Talcott, Esq., brief addresses by Secre- 
tary Northrop, Mr. Northens of New Britain, Rev. Mr. Day and 
Mr. Gardner Talcott, of Talcottville, Recitations by Miss Sudella 
Peck of Bristol, and singing by the Talcottville Glee Club. E. W. 
Moore, Esq., presided. 

The East District of Vernon was still in 1884 charged with 
maintaining the Rockville High School. The public schools of the 
district were divided into four departments: The primary depart- 
ment included grades first to fourth inclusive; the intermediate 
grades five, six and seven; the grammar department grades eight 




and nine. The high school studies were now covered in four 
years, and were arranged into a Business and Classical course. 

On June 21, 1888, 91 had through the years graduated from 
the school, and the first reunion was held in White's Opera House. 
Five years later, September 5, 1893, the second reunion was held 
in the town hall, with a graduate list of 150. After a lapse of thir- 
teen years an Alumni Association was formed, and the first re- 
union of the Association was held on June 20, 1906, with 435 


First — Arithmetic, Physical Geography, English Grammar, Spelling 
Second — Algebra, Physiology, Bookkeeping or Latin lessons 
Third — Algebra, Virgil, Anabasis, Greek Prose 
Fourth — Cicero, Homer's Iliad, Greek History 


First — Arithmetic, Physical geography, English Grammar, Spelling 
Second — Algebra, Physiology, Bookkeeping or Latin lessons 
Third — Algebra, Natural Philosophy, German or Caesar 
Fourth — English History, Astronomy, Political Economy or Virgil 


Wm. W. Ames, Yale graduate at the re-union in a drily de- 
licious speech, told of his graduating class in 1883 that 15 gallons 
of lemonade were prepared and none was left; no one had any 
but the ten members of the class. 

In 1888 the local press made this appeal — "The churches of 
the village have kindly given the use of their audience rooms to 
the exercises connected with the High School graduation. It is 
only asked that the public do not abuse the privilege. It is re- 
quested this year that tobacco chewers forego their habit of de- 
filing the carpet with the juice of the weed." 

On September 6, 1890, voted to purchase the lot on the corner 
of School and Park Streets from the Union Ecclesiastical Society 
at a cost not to exceed $7,000 for a town High School. 

At the annual Town Meeting, October 6, 1890, it was voted 
that a committee of five be appointed to procure plans, specifica- 
tions and estimate of cost for the erection of a High School build- 
ing and report at some future meeting. On this committee were 
appointed E. S. Henry, H. L. James, A. P. Hammond, S. G. Risley 
and A. R. Goodrich. 

On August 15, 1891, a special meeting of the town voted "that 
the Town within a reasonable time cause to be erected on the 
site now owned by the town on the corner of Park and School 
Streets in Rockville a Public High School Building, substantially 
according to the plans submitted and recommended by the com- 
mittee, and an appropriation is hereby made of $50,000 to defray 
the cost of said building, and the selectmen are instructed to pro- 
vide such sum of fifty thousand dollars subject to the order of the 
building committee to be hereby appointed." The contract was 
awarded to Messrs. G. Arnold & Son. 

The dedication of the High School, corner of Park and School 
Streets was held on Tuesday, September 5, 1893. Dr. A. R. Good- 
rich presided. The audience taxed the splendid assembly room. The 
High School is a handsome, commodious building of the Renais- 
sance style of architecture, with a large tower on the southwest 
or street corner and heavy arched entrances on both the Park 
Street and School Street fronts. 

There are two stories above the basement. The long lines of 
the School Street front are broken by projections and a gable and 
mullion window. The length of the building is 120 feet, with a 
width of 57 feet on Park Street front and 61 feet on the east half. 



fi It TiiWf - f -5» 

nf l 11% 

t ih ! filing 

f . r t ' r r 


The ground floor, west front, has a hallway flanked on the 
south by a classroom 23 x 23; on the left by an office 10 x 12, and 
capacious cloak rooms, one for each sex. The main schoolroom in 
the rear is 51 x S8y 2 feet with a capacity for 200 pupils. Both hall- 
ways have staircases leading to the second floor. 

On the second floor are two classrooms 25 x 25 and one in 
front 261/2 x 31. There is also a library room 23 x 33; a teacher's 
room 15 feet square; a physical laboratory 25 x 25 and a chemical 
laboratory of the same size. The physical laboratory was equipped 
with an abundance of glass cases and drawers. The finest slate 
blackboards were a joy to the instructors and a boon to the pupils. 


Solo, selected Miss Grace A. Smith 

Historical Address Dr. A. R. Goodrich 

Solo, selected .Miss Delia M. Presbrey 

Address — "Struggles and Growth of the Rockville High School" 

Hon. E. S. Henry 
Reading by Professor Hibbard, New Britain 

Dedicatory Prayer Rev. James Dingwell 

Solo, selected . Miss Bessie C. Durfee 

Brief addresses by members of the School Board and other citizens 

Music — Singing of "America" By Assembly 

Benediction Rev. E. W. Potter 

Opening of Building to the Public. 


On October 19, 1893, the Evening School was conducted under 
difficulty because 250 had applied for instruction when at the ut- 
most one hundred had been provided for. A month later it was 
reported "there are now 375 pupils in the night school." On Oc- 
tober 1, 1894, $1,000 was voted to establish and maintain an Eve- 
ning School. 

An editorial of Thursday, December 6, 1894, stated: 

"It is time to call a halt on increasing elaborateness 
and expense attending the "receptions" and other cere- 
monies of graduating classes in the High School. Class 
receptions, class pins, class pictures, class rings, reception 
and graduation gowns, and other things come thick and 
fast. Let it be stopped! They have gone far enough!" 

Principal Isaac M. Agard (1888-1906) had a new feature for 
the report cards in 1896. That year was a blank on one side for 
the parents to fill out, stating just what time was spent by the stu- 
dent in school work at home each month. 

In 1896 warm debates were held on weighty subjects: that 
women should be allowed the right of suffrage; that it would be 
beneficial to the property owners of Rockville to repeal the city 

On Thursday, June 4, 1898, a special town meeting acted on 
the proposition to increase the Board of School Visitors for the 
town of Vernon from six to nine. A large meeting in the town 
hall voted for increase 223, against 154, blanks 3, total vote 380. 


During the period of 1890 to 1896 Professor J. P. Regan, a 
local resident, who lived with his parents on Windsor Avenue, 
had just prior to that period graduated from the famous Penn- 
manship College operated by Zaner & Bloser, at Columbus, Ohio, 
recognized as two of America's finest penmen. 

Professor Regan was engaged to teach in the local schools, and 
in addition to a very small fee paid by the town for his services, 
he was allowed the use of a school room in the East District to 
teach evening classes at $1.50 for ten lessons. 

John P. Regan was a real artist and in addition to teaching in 
the schools, and private lessons, he executed in masterly style Reso- 
lutions, Testimonials and high class pen work of varied forms. He 
is still affectionately remembered by a great many townspeople 
and former students who studied with him. 


In 1894 Professor Regan was signally honored by the manage- 
ment of the Chicago World's Fair, being selected from among hun- 
dreds of the country's finest penmen to exhibit his work at the 
fair. His exhibit included specimens of the penmanship of a fifteen 
year old pupil, John N. Keeney. The framed exhibit was later 
displayed in the window of the Ellen Wilson Drug Store in Park- 
Place, in the Citizen's Block, now the Schaeffer Market. 


First Meeting High School Committee, Rockville, June 20, 

The selectmen A. P. Dickinson and A. J. Cunningham appeared 
in person and informed the Board of Education that they had ap- 
pointed the following named persons as a High School Committee 
for one year or until the Town voted for a High School Committee: 

A. R. Goodrich, James Dingwell, A. M. Gibson, Wm. V. Mc- 
Nerney and W. B. Foster were named as that committee. Dr. 
A. R. Goodrich was a prominent physician, and a member of the 
School Visiting Committee for many years. 

The above named persons met in the town clerk's office on 
the above named date and the following officers were elected: 

A. R. Goodrich, President 
W. B. Foster, Secretary 
A. M. Gibson, Auditor 

Second Meeting of the High School Committee took place in 
the Town Clerk's office June 27, 1893. It was voted to hire the 
following named persons as teachers for the coming year on the 
following terms: 

Principal I. M. Agard $1500.00 

Miss A. Henry 630.00 

Miss F. Kingsbury 450.00 

Miss Sadie Lake 450.00 

Voted that James Dingwell, W. B. Foster and I. M. Agard be 
a committee to purchase supplies, books, maps, etc., for the High 
School. Voted that 38 weeks be a school year. Voted that W. B. 


Foster purchase the coal and hire a janitor, the salary of janitor not 
to exceed $500 per year. Voted that the tuition for attendance of 
out of town scholars shall be 

Fall Term $10 

Winter Term 8 

Spring Term 7 

At the annual Town Meeting October 2, 1893, the following 
were elected on the High School Committee in accordance with 
Senate Bill No. 20: E. Stevens Henry, Elbridge K. Leonard, Wil- 
liam Maxwell, Frederick W. Walsh, and Frederick Hartenstein. 

In 1894 the subject of vaccination was agitating the minds of 
people, and many physicians and more laymen resisted the en- 
forced vaccination of their children because of the danger of in- 
troducing into their systems unsafe virus. 

The town of Vernon in 1899 voted to place its schools under 
town management, and in less than a month demonstrated the in- 
stability of human opinion by rescinding its previous action. Under 
consolidation all the schools of the town would be under one gen- 
eral committee. 

The Board of Education in 1902 voted unanimously "to allow 
no children to attend the public school of Vernon after September 
8 without being; vaccinated or without ha vino; a certificate from a 
reputable physician of the Town of Vernon, certifying that the 
child is not a fit subject for vaccination." This resolution met 
with lively opposition from anti-vaccinationists, and in the last week 
of February, 1904, they opened a private school in the Wesleyan 
Hall in the rear of the Methodist Church. It started with 25 pupils 
and increased to 75. 

On October 6, 1902, the following definite step was taken: 
"Resolved that the Board of Education is hereby re- 
quested neither to abridge nor restrict the right of any 
pupil to attend any public school under its jurisdiction 
by reason of said pupil not being vaccinated or by the 
failure of any such pupil to comply with any order or 
regulation from any source relating to vaccination." 

At a Reunion of the High School in 1911, Fred H. Holt pre- 
sided and reminiscently remarked: "Some of us would prefer to 
meet tonight in yonder old High School room (1819) with its 
much talked of historic ceiling, its small class rooms, and the very 


platform on which we were tortured on many a Wednesday after- 
noon for the cause of rhetoric." 

November 12, 1914, The Board of School Visitors at their No- 
vember meeting reported "1820 children of school age, and 365 
children attend no school." 

A terrible epidemic of Spanish influenza swept through 43 
States of the Union in 1918. The Rockville High School became a 
temporary hospital. There were 1200 to 1500 cases in the city 
of influenza and pneumonia and 35,000 cases in the State of Con- 
necticut. A large tent from the State Armory was set up on the 
Green in Talcott Park, then moved to the lawn of Dr. T. F. Rock- 
well, who rendered yeoman service. 125 patients were treated, 
and 23 died. 

In October, 1918, the Rockville High School building was 
taken over by the citizens and transformed into an emergency hos- 
pital for the care of the hundreds of people ill with Spanish in- 

At a special town meeting November 4, 1918, 

"Resolved that $2500 be appropriated by the Town 
for the purpose of defraying in part expenses of emergency 
hospital during the prevalence of the influenza epidemic 
through the Red Cioss." 

Rockville Hio-fi School was the recipient of a valuable Indian 
Totem Pole on Wednesday, November 24, 1920, given by the Max- 
well familv, in memory of Robert Maxwell, of the Class of 1883. 
The gift, five feet in height, is an extremely rare specimen. Inci- 
dentally, the significance of Indian totem poles is generally over- 
looked. They record the family and tribal history, describe im- 
portant events and monuments to the fame or ill-repute of out- 
standing individuals. They are more than objects of religious 

There were appropriate exercises in the afternoon of Friday, 
April 21, 1939, when several trees were dedicated on the East 
School grounds. A tree of special interest was a Rock Maple 
given by the East School and planted in memory of the former 
Superintendent of Schools, Herbert O. Clough. Mr. Philip M. 
Howe paid tribute. Other trees were two maples given bv the 
Veterans of Foreign Wars; one a Schwedler maple given bv Mrs. 
D. L. Hondlow in memory of her son, Elbridge K. Leonard, and 


the other a Rock maple given by Mrs. Julius Beer, in memory of 
her husband; also a Schwedler maple was given by Miss Bessie 
Durfee in memory of her sister, Miss Delia B. Durfee, a teacher 
for many years in the East School District. 

The old Grammar School building at East District, erected in 
1849, was removed by the vote of citizens in 1937. 

At a special Town meeting Tuesday, August 18, 1942: 

"Be it resolved by the voters of the Town of Vernon 
in Town meeting assembled that the town accept with 
thanks the offer of Talcott Brothers to give the school 
buildings and grounds situated in Talcottville, which have 
hitherto been rented by the town, to the town to own and 
operate as a school building on this condition — that if at 
any time the town should permanently cease to use this 
property for school purposes, it shall revert to Talcott 

On May 24, 1945, the town decided to convey by deed to the 
American Legion, Stanley Dobosz Post No. 14, Inc., a certain piece 
or parcel of land situated on the easterly side of East Street, ap- 
proximately 350 feet front and 500 feet deep, to erect a club house, 
grounds for athletics, recreational and parking purposes. 

At the November monthly meeting, 1945, the Board of Educa- 
tion voted "to turn back the Dobsonville School building to the 
Selectmen; the building had outlived its usefulness as a school." 

On December 18, 1945, The Vernon Fire Company, No. 2, 
was granted the use of the Dobsonville School House for recrea- 
tional purposes. 

Miss Bessie Durfee, a beloved teacher in the Town of Vernon 
for nearly fifty years, left Trust Fund of approximately $25,000: 
. . . to be used for relief for the grade school chil- 
dren of the town of Vernon with priority being given to 
treatment and hospitalization for eye, nose and throat 
troubles; to be administered by a Committee appointed by 
the Business Committee of Union Congregational Church. 

During many years of teaching, Miss Durfee saw boys and 
girls held back by these diseases because parents did not have 
means to give them proper treatment. This fund is available to 
every race, creed and nationality. 


On November II, 1903, George Sykes made a bequest pro- 
viding a fund for the foundation of the George Svkcs Manual 
Training School: 

"I give and bequeath to Francis T. Maxwell, William 
H. Prescott, Charles Phelps, David A. Sykes, and J. Henry 
McCray, all of the city of Rockville, County of Tolland. 
State of Connecticut, the sum of one hundred thousand 
dollars in perpetual trust, to them and their successors in 
office, for the purpose of establishing and maintaining at 
said city of Rockville, a Manual Training School for the 
instruction of boys in manual labor, including drafting, 
carpentering, plumbing, all kinds of electrical work, phys- 
ical culture and all other branches of manual training com- 
monly taught in such schools." 

The thought of such a Manual Training School was inspired in 
the mind of George Sykes, when he was a young and struggling 
student. As a boy in a little mill in Vermont, he worked long hours 




for small wages. During what leisure time he had, he was as 
fond of baseball and other pastimes as any other bow but he had 
an ambition to "get on." to become an overseer, a designer, and 
maybe a manufacturer. So he used to walk (he could not afford 
even the chief livery service of those davs ) to the next town where 
he knew a mill man. "Joe Wade." who gave him lessons in drafting 
and analyzing the different makes of cloth. At home, after the 
long mill hours, he studied bv the light of the kerosene lamp, in- 
deed, his close application was such that his evesight became tem- 
porarily impaired, but he had already attained sufficient skill to 
become an overseer of weaving at the age of 21. and soon there- 
after he became a superintendent. 

He was determined to try to lighten the handicaps of others, 
and provide a school where bovs might learn a trade, whether tex- 
tile or mechanical, and in his will he left the sum of $100,000 in 
trust to serve as a foundation for a school which should give to the 
vouth of Vernon and Rockville benefits he had sought in his vouth 
and obtained against great odds. 

In 1907. Mrs. Charles Phelps, daughter of George Sykes, ten- 
dered to the Trustees of the Svkes Manual Training School deeds 
of the Skinner and Bill property for a site for the erection of a 
manual training school. No better site could be obtained. The 
Skinner property had a frontage of 99 feet and a depth of 165 feet 
and the Bill property was about 60 x 100 feet. Frank Skinner was 
the town clerk and Benezet H. Bill was a lawyer. 

Under the care of the trustees, and added to bv generous gifts 
from the Svkes family and bequests from the Max-well and Pr es- 
cort estates, in the 20 years since the establishment of the fund, it 
has increased largely. 

In the fall of 1923. the School Committee of the Town of 
Vernon, moved bv the pressure of increased numbers in the High 
School, approached the trustees with a proposition that if they 
would erect a building which would house the proposed Manual 
Training School contemplated bv Mr. Svkes. and the Rockville 
High School, the committee would endeavor to persuade the town 
to take over from the trustees the task of maintaining such branches 
in the combined school as would satisfy the intention of Mr. Svkes 
in projecting the school. 

After a series of conferences between the trustees and the 
school committee an agreement was entered into between them 


which was ratified by the town at a special meeting on November 
19, 1923. By this agreement the trustees agreed to erect a school 
building at a cost of -$250,000 which sum was considerably in- 
creased later to house the combined school, while the Town of 
Vernon agreed to equip and maintain the school. Under the agree- 
ment the Trustees gave the free use of the building for a term of 
25 years, which time mav be extended if the combination works 

The trustees agreed further to keep the building in repair, 
and to give the running of the Manual Training branches into the 
hands of the school committee, reserving the right to intercede if 
the interest of the Will was at any time in danger of not being 
carried out. 

The total cost of the building to the trustees was in the neigh- 
borhood of $300,000. The building and equipment provide a gym- 
nasium, machine shop, woodworking shop, forge shop, an audi- 
torium to accommodate 816 persons, a library, science rooms, do- 
mestic science rooms, offices, and fifteen regular class rooms. 

On November 29, 1923, ground was broken for the new school. 
and cornerstone exercises were held the following year on Satur- 
day, April 24. 


Music — Governor's Foot Guard Band 
Foreword and reading of the Fourth Paragrph of the 
Codicil of the Will of the late George Sykes 

Charles Phelps, President 
Vocal Music — "We Cheer and March Away" Bellini 

School Chorus 
Remarks, F. S. Nettleton, Chairman Town School Committee 
Reading List of Contents of Box 

Francis T. Maxwell, Vice-President 
Vocal Music — "March Song of Stark's Men" Whelply 

School Chorus 

Laying of the Cornerstone David A. Sykes, Secretary 

Music — Governor's Foot Guard Band 

Address — Rev. Percy E. Thomas, Lowell, Massachusetts 

Singing — "America" — Accompanied by Band 
Concert by the Band. 

The George Svkes Manual Training and High School was 
dedicated on Thursday evening, Februarv 5, 1925, and in spite of 
extravagant weather and a severe blizzard that was sweeping the 
city, the auditorium of the building was filled almost to its capacity. 

Exercises were held in the large and spacious auditorium. 



Chairman John E. Fahey, Judge of Probate 1905-1928 

Music Hatch's Orchestra 

Prayer Rev. F. P. Bacheler 

Song — "Triumphal March" from "Aida" High School Chorus 

Introductory Remarks by the Chairman 
Presentations : 

To the Trustees — Willard F. Peck, The H. Wales Lines Company 
To the School Committee — Hon. Charles Phelps 

President of the Trustees 

Acceptance — Sherwood C. Cummings, Chairman of School 


Selection Orchestra 

Remarks Ex-Governor Everett J. Lake 

Song — "Carmena" (Wilson) High School Chorus 

Address — Dr. Albert B. Meredith, State Commissioner of Education 
Singing — "America" Audience 

A bronze tablet 3 x 2 ft. given by the Trustees of the George 
Sykes Memorial School is placed at the entrance in the school with 
the following inscription: 


Dedicated 1925 

Founded by George Sykes with the 
Cooperation of his family 

Mrs. Sarah A. Sykes 

Mrs. Lizzie Sykes Bond 

Mrs. Elsie Sykes Phelps 

Mrs. Eva Sykes Lake 

Additional Bequests and Gifts made by 

Robert Maxwell 

Mrs. Celia E. Prescott 

Mrs. Harriet K. Maxwell 

Original Trustees 

Charles Phelps, Francis T. Maxwell, 

William H. Prescott, David A. Sykes, 

J. Henry McCray 

Trustees Elected 

George E. Sykes, 1909 
Howard I. Wood, 1937 


When the next historian writes the chronicle of the twentieth 
century in Rockville, and records the achievements of her sons and 
daughters, he will, no doubt begin with names like these: Benja- 
min C. Nangle, Anna R. Maskel, and the Pearl Brothers, George 
and Sam. For the early years of these graduates of Rockville High 
School show promise of greater fame. 

Benjamin C. Nangle was graduated from Rockville High 
School in 1917 and immediately entered Yale University, from 
which school he graduated in 1921. During the college year 1821- 
22 he was an instructor in English at Yale-in-China. He returned 
to New Haven and entered the graduate school, receiving his 
Ph.D., in 1927. He was an assistant in the English Department 
until 1924 when he received an appointment as an instructor. 
Four years later he was promoted to assistant professor and to 
associate professor in 1937. In addition, he has taught English 
at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven. 

Anna R. Maskel, who characterizes her poems as "small fire- 
fly flashes in the night," was graduated from Rockville High School 
in 1924. New York University granted her the B.S. degree in 1932, 
and Columbia followed with its M.A., in 1943. In the summers of 
1945 and 1946, she took Advanced study at Yale. In 1935 "Wild 
Stubble," and in 1937 "From Fallow," were published by Bruce 
Humphries, Inc., of Boston. These books of poetry have been sup- 
plemented by articles printed in "Progressive Education," "Con- 
necticut Teacher," "Education Digest," "Connecticut University 
News," and the Hartford Times. She is now serving as Assistant 
Professor of Education at New Haven Teachers College. 

George and Samuel W. Pearl were both graduates of Rockville 
High School in the classes of 1928 and 1929 respectively. Sam 
was the Salutatorian of the class of 1929, and a graduate with B.A. 
degree from Yale College in 1935, and from the Yale Law School 
in 1938. Succeeding to the business of their father, Benjamin 
Pearl, who started operations in 1931, the two high school grad- 
uates have built up a large gasoline and oil business with capaci- 
ties of 18 service stations and more than 1,000 customers, a total 
annual gallonage of 5,000,000 of oil, and a large fleet of tank and 
delivery trucks. In addition to the highly successful operations of 
the Pearl Oil Company, the brothers have acquired rentable real 
estate to enhance their increasing commercial activities. Their suc- 
cess in a relatively few years is an inspiring example to succeed- 
ing graduates. 


Since 1829, when "a school of a higher order" was established 
in Vernon, profound changes have occurred in American educa- 
tion and have been reflected in the local schools. During that 
century and a quarter, secondary education has become the rule 
for the majority of our youth, rather than the exception for the 
select few. The disrepute into which child labor has justly fallen 
and the requirements of a more complex social and economic 
structure have combined to make more extensive schooling de- 
sirable and necessary. 

With greater numbers has come wider divergence in attain- 
ment and purpose. Thus, to the traditional curriculum, whose chief 
aim was to prepare for college, have been added courses leading 
more directly to the vocations, such as industrial arts, commercial 
training, home economics and agriculture, so that students for 
whom high school is the final phase of formal education may be 
ready to compete in a highly technical society. 

With the flood of new students of varied ambitions, and a 
multiplicity of courses from which to choose, there arose the need 
for expert educational and vocational advice. New occupations, 
created and multiplied by the advancement of technical and scien- 
tific achievement, demanded fresh patterns of preparation. To 
help the students plan wisely for the life work which best suited 
them, the "guidance" movement was conceived. When the need 
for such specialized teachers became apparent in Vernon, staff 
members were assigned to this duty. The attention thus given to 
the individual student and the problems peculiar to him have 
strengthened the fabric of education in the school system of the 

Technological progress has increased the leisure time of every 
citizen since the days of the first high school. The schools have 
kept pace with this development by attempting to train the student 
to use this time to advantage. Instruction and practice in sports 
and the arts have been introduced. Basketball, baseball, soccer, 
in the field of sports; choral singing, band, drawing, handcrafts, 
dramatics and journalism in the arts, afford the student an oppor- 
tunity to acquire skill in activities from which he may derive per- 
sonal satisfaction throughout his life. 

Among such activities may be mentioned the production of 
the "Banner," originally a literary magazine and yearbook, now 
solely a yearbook of the graduating class; also the "Bannerette," a 
new publication formerly known as the "Cat-o'-Nine Tales." 



111 addition, frequent social events aid the students in acquir- 
ing facility in making plans and arrangements, and poise in par- 
ticipation in such situations. 

Assembly programs bring to the high school motion pictures, 
speakers, and other types of presentations which widen the stu- 
dent's horizons by bringing him information and ideas which give 
significance to his own experience or which may be outside the 
scope of his present activities. 

The high school of today is a far cry from the "school of a 
higher order" of 1829. In every stage of its development it has 
changed because the society of which it is a part has changed. At 
every point its function has been to educate students to become 
effective, useful and personally satisfied citizens of their town 
and country. 




- 2 



1931— 90 







- 5 



1933— 82 












- 7 





- 1 





- 5 



1938— 97 


- 7 





- 4 










- 9 





- 9 





- 6 





- 7 





- 9 










- 7 















Randall Spaulding 1870-72 

Charles E. Raymond . . 1873-74 

Wayland Spaulding 1874-78 

Douglas P. Birnie 1878-80 

J. Edward Banta 1880-88 

Issac M. Agard 1888-1906 

Harry B. Marsh 1908-1912 

Philip M. Howe 1912-1945 

Allen L. Dresser 1945- 


James Muir 1915 

Herbert O. Clough 1918 

Philip M. Howe 1937 

Arthur E. Chatterton 1945 



As early as 1821, school was kept in the West District, then 
known as the Grant District. The pioneer Grant family and a few 
other inhabitants cut down trees out of the forest, and by the 
stream built two small mills, where later stood the Saxony mill, and 
erected a small schoolhouse for their children. 

At the dedication of the High School in 1393, Dr. A. R. Good- 
rich, who was State Comptroller from 1873-1874, and State Treas- 
urer from 1883 to 1885, reminded his audience — 

"My acquaintance with Rockville extends back to the 
time when less than 200 people were residents, and all the 
beautiful hillsides were covered with the primeval forests. 
There were at that time no schoolhouses, post office, hotels, 
markets or saloons. Previous to 1836, there was no school- 
house in the East School District. Children attended 
school in the Grant District, now called the W T est School 
District. This street was an old settlement before Rock- 
ville proper was thought of." 

The schoolhouse was a storv and a half building. In the 
deep snow there were no paths, and inside the room in zero 
weather there was no steam heat. It was a wood burner for a 
stove. The scholars were glad to hug that to keep warm. The 
ink in the bottles froze and the bottles burst. The boys coming 
into the schoolhouse with their cowhide boots on would make as 
much noise as a horse. 

For a quarter of a century the school served a good purpose, 
then was converted into a soap factory, and later became a com- 
mon barn. In November of 1840, there were enrolled 43 pupils, 
and the district was called the North District until 1849. 


On November 15, 1848, this district refused to consolidate with 
the Rock District in an effort to build a High School house, and 
on November 27 of that year voted to build a schoolhouse on 
what is now Maple Street, to cost not more than $1,000. A com- 
mittee to select a site was appointed, consisting of Chauncey Win- 
chell, Palmer Holman and Chauncev Hubbard. At a later meet- 
ing that same committee was instructed to deal with Francis Grant 



in the matter, and soon after Messrs. H. W. Miner, A. Bailey, George 
Lee, Christopher Burdick, P. Holman, Sumner Tracey and A. Tal- 
cott were appointed "to drive stakes where to erect the school- 
house." School in the new house was opened on December 1, 

The schools increased rapidly, and a growing population de- 
manded enlarged facilities and more buildings. The annual town 
meeting in 1893 voted to appoint a committee to look into the 
needs of the District, consisting of S. T. Noble, A. Park Hammond, 
Henry Burke, Charles Metcalf, and F. R. Rau. They reported at 
a special meeting the estimated cost of a building 30 x 60 feet, 
two stories high, and were promptly instructed to go ahead, pro- 
cure bids, and erect the building. 

The contract was awarded to G. Arnold & Son for $3,500, and 
the building was erected in the old coloniel style, two and a half 
stories high, with nine schoolrooms, a splendid hall, and two addi- 
tional rooms to be finished when needed. 

The handsome building was dedicated in March, 1894, and 
the attendance was so large the dedication exercises had to be 
planned in two entertainments, first by the more advanced pupils 
and a little later by the primary classes. Even the two entertain- 
ments were not sufficient, and a consolidated third was presented. 
These exercises occurred in the hall of the new building and 
proved the advantages of such a hall for public gatherings at the 
west end. 

The ninth school was opened at the beginning of 1894, and 
such was the increase of pupils that a tenth school had to be opened 
on May 1 of the same year. 


The West District School building in 1922 was generally re- 
garded as unsanitary, old-fashioned, antique and impractical, and 
a dangerous fire-trap. The matter was brought to the attention 
of the town by Francis S. Nettleton, chairman of the town school 
committee, Francis T. Maxwell, and superintendent of schools, 
H. O. Clough, at a meeting in the Town Hall, in the afternoon of 
Monday, October 2, 1922. It was resloved — 

"That the town of Vernon shall build and equip a 
building for public school purposes on the land owned by 
said Town at the corner of Union and Maple Streets in 
said town, said building and equipment not to exceed one 
hundred eighteen thousand dollars in cost; and that the 
Town School Committee as now or hereafter constituted 
be and said committee hereby is authorized and empow- 
ered to be and act as agents of said town in building and 
equipment of said school." 




The new building was substantial and practical. The work 
was started on March 23, 1923, with the H. Wales Lines Company 
of Meriden as builders, and "Walter B. Chambers, of New York, as 
architect. The building is set 60 feet back from Union and Maple 
Streets at the junction, with entrances from each street reached 
bv concrete sidewalks. Over the west entrance is the simple name, 
"Maple Street School." 7 At the Maple Street entrance is a large 
vestibule, and to the right of this is the principal's room and com- 
mittee rooms. Notable features of the building are large window 
spaces, plentv of light, wide and ample corridor which runs the 
whole length of the building, sanitary and adjustable desks, and 
plentv of coat and closet room. 

There was no formal dedication of the building. It opened 
after the Christmas recess on Wednesday, January 2, 1924, and 
the onlv public announcement made was the report of Principal 
McClellan that the teachers had moved into the new building. 
Several teachers have corroborated this. They helped carry equip- 
ment from the old building to the new school. 

The old school had really become a museum of antiquities. 
In one room was an old style square piano in enormous contrast 
with the small instrument put in the kindergarten room of the new 
building, an old organ and the original desk used for mere than 
thirty vears bv Principal Hayward. Another room in the old build- 
ing was the opportunity room, instituted bv Maple Street School 
for the amusement and manual training of sub-normal children. 
Here was the handlocm for weaving rugs and the material for 
chair-caning and brush-making. James F. Hendrick, father of ex- 
cellent teachers. Miss Anna B. and Mary Helen, started the course 
of manual training in the school about the year 1903. 



E. Stevens Henry Award 
Francis S. Nettleton Award 
Carl Abrahamson Award 
Bessie Durfee Award 
Florence Whitlock Award 
Philip M. Howe Award 


Vitolt Bagdanovich Award 

Rockville High School Alumni Association Award 

Rockville Rotary Club 

Rockville Exchange Club 

Rockville Public Health Nursing Association 

Girls Club 

Miss Florence R. Whitlock, a teacher in this town for ever 
thirty years, devoted practically all her life to the welfare of boys 
and girls. She bequeathed in her will — 

"One-tenth (l/10th) to the Town of Vernon, the same to be de- 
posited in one of the savings banks of Rockville and the income 
thereof to be used for a first and second prize to the two scholars 
whose standing in the high school has been the highest for the 
four years." 

Class of 1953 — Awarded to Alesandra Schmidt and June Tyler 

Class of 1954 — Awarded to Winnifred Wohllebe and Dorothy Sil- 

"One-tenth (1/lOth) to the Town of Vernon, the same to be 
deposited in one of the savings banks of Rockville and the income 
thereof to be used for prizes in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades 
of the East school, for excellence in school work, the details in rela- 
tion to the awarding of such prizes to be left to the superintendent, 
principal and teachers of these grades." 

The first of the Florence R. Whitlock Memorial Awards to the 
East School were presented bv Principal Renwick J. Lewis at 
Graduation, June 22, 1954: 

Grade Eight — Barbara Kluczewski and Guv Crossman 

Grade Seven — Irene Lee and Paul Nagy 

Grade Six — Carolvn Nagv and Harwood West 



Vernon, Connecticut 

SUNDAY, MARCH 30, 1952 — 3:00 P.M. 


Mr. Franklin G. Welles, Presiding 
Chairman — Vernon School Building Committee 

INVOCATION Rev. George S. Brookes 

Pastor Emeritus, Union Church 

WELCOME Mr. Herbert I. Pagani 

First Selectman, Town of Vernon 

Mr. John G. Talcott, Jr. 

Chairman, Vernon Board of Education 

MUSIC "Steal Away" — Negro Spiritual 

"Little Brown Church in the Vale" 
Pupils from the Seventh and Eighth 
Grades of the Vernon Elementary 

PRAYER Rev. Brendan Griswold 

Grace Episcopal Church, Newington, 
formerly Pastor of Vernon Center 
Congregational Church 


DR. ENGLEMAN Mrs. Alice H. Hammar 

Secretary, Vernon School Building 




PUBLIC EDUCATION" Dr. Finis E. Engleman, Commissioner 

of Education for the State of Connec- 

PIANO SOLO Louis Meagley, Vernon Elementary 

School, Eighth Grade 



TO BOARD OF EDUCATION. . Mr. Franklin G. Welles to Mr. John R. 

Gottier, Chairman of the Building 
Committee of the Board of Education 

BENEDICTION Rev. Forrest Musser 

Union Congregational Church 

TOUR OF BUILDING— after Ceremonies 



The Vernon Elementary School was started October 1, 1950, 
and occupied January 3, 1952. There are 13 classrooms; a cafe- 
teria; an auditorium; boys' and girls' shower and locker rooms; 
health clinic; library, and teachers' rooms. There are HV2 acres 
in the school site. 

The total cost of the building for construction, equipment, 
grading, and land is $394,000. There are 375 children enrolled at 
present. Every available classroom is utilized. About 300 chil- 
dren enjoy a hot lunch every day in the cafeteria. 



The chairman of the committee on July 7, 1915, was Francis 
S. Nettleton; Secretary, S. Tracy Noble; Treasurer, George P. 

August 4, 1915 — Salaries for the year: Principal Philip M. Howe 
$1900; East District (highest) $18.00 a week, lowest $10.00 
week; West District (highest) $16.00 a week, lowest $9.00 a 
week. Voted by the committee that salaries of grammar school 
were not to exceed $900 per year after the present year of 1915. 


September 1, 1915 — Voted to engage James E. Muir, of Orange, 
New Jersey, as supervisor of schools of the town of Vernon for 
one year at a salary of $2,200 per year. 

Eugene Stulett's bid for transporting children of South East 
District and New England Hill for entire school year at $800. 
The tuition of children outside the town of Vernon $3.00 per 
term, payable in advance. 

October 6, 1915 — Voted teachers be allowed full pay for absence 
during illness, not to exceed ten days during the year, upon 
presentation of physician's certificate of such illness. The press 
were allowed to attend meetings. 

November 3, 1915 — Messrs. Talcott Brothers, of Talcottville, pre- 
sented an offer to lease the present school building in that 
place to the town for the sum of one hundred dollars (100.00) 
per year, owners to pay for janitor service, insurance, and keep 
building and grounds in present good condition. Accepted. 

April 5, 1916 — Letter from Sabra Chapter D.A.R. offering assistance 
financially and with a committee to perfect a course in do- 
mestic science. 

Voted to engage hereafter as new teachers only normal school 
or college graduates. 

June 6, 1917 — Volumes of specimens of children's penmanship 
which was at the Centennial in 1876 be donated to the Rock- 
ville Public Library. 

July 19, 1917 — Voted that the course in Domestic Science be intro- 
duced next year, teacher for same to be engaged. 
New England Hill school property be disposed of. 

September 5, 1917 — Voted that $500 be a minimum salary for any 
teacher next year. 

October 5, 1917 — That Evening School be held four nights a week 
until 75 nights had been completed. 

April 3, 1918 — That every teacher be given $30 increase in salary 
for the present spring term, with the exception of the writing 
teacher, who shall receive $15 in addition to present salary. 

May 1, 1918 — James E. Muir resigned, and Herbert O. Clough was 
engaged as Superintendent of Schools, with a salary of $2750 
for one year. 


Tuition for out-of-town pupils in the High School be increased 
to $65 a year; grades $20 a year. 

June 5, 1918 — To adopt the proposed cooperative High School and 
Trade School course — the town to pay half of the pupils' car 

July 23, 1918 — That one-half of the car fare from Rockville to 
Manchester and return be paid from September 1 to July 1 to 
all pupils taking the High School Trade School Cooperative 
Course, up to $40. The State refunds one-half. 

June 4, 1919 — Voted to appropriate a sum not exceeding $1,000 for 
replenishing and repairing in accordance with plans of the 
High School laboratory. 

October 7, 1919 — Mr. Gibson T. Williams, of Vernon Center, has 
offered to paint the school building in his district at his own 

Voted that adjustable seats, 24 in number, be purchased for 
the upper grade at Vernon Depot. 

November 3, 1920 — Plan of serving hot soup or chocolate at the 
noon hour to scholars in the grades who are obliged to bring 
their lunch, 50 taking advantage from the East and 20 from the 

May 4, 1921 — Voted schools continue to observe standard time, but 
open and close one hour earlier. 

May 21, 1921 — The matter of making physical training a definite 
part of the school curriculum was discussed. Unanimous in 
favor, but under present conditions hiring of special teacher 

September 13, 1921 — Voted that registration for Evening School 
be free and one dollar be given for perfect attendance. There 
are 131 pupils in High School from out of town and 147 from 

December 7, 1921 — A committee of three, consisting of Chairman 
Nettleton, Mr. Bissell and Mr. Talcott was appointed to con- 
fer with the trustees of the Sykes Manual Training School if 
so desired by said trustees. 

January 4, 1922 — Offered Frank Meyers instructor of Manual 
training a salary of $10 per week for one and one half days' 


April 25, 1922 — Voted to enter a protest against the granting of a 
license for the holding of "outdoor carnivals" in the vicinity 
of school buildings, because of the damage liable to said build- 
ings and the attendant distraction of scholars from their school 

To the Trustees of the George Sykes Manual Training School. 

It is currently reported that the trustees are contemplat- 
ing the erection in the near future, of a school building upon 
their lot in the center of the city, approximately the site of the 
present High School building, with a view of carrying out the 
instructions in the will of the late George Sykes relating to the 
teaching of certain branches of Manual Training. The town 
of Vernon has outgrown its present High School building and 
must in the near future erect others, if the present conditions 

If we are rightly informed, the branches required by the 
will of the late Mr. Sykes to be taught are those which the 
school committee believe ought to be taught in every town, 
and which in a meager way are now being taught within the 
limits available by the High School. It occurred to the mem- 
bers of the school committee that perhaps the town of Vernon 
and the trustees of the proposed Manual Training School might 
cooperate, thus relieving the town from the great expense of 
erecting a new building, and at the same time giving to the 
Manual Training School the aid of the High School Depart- 
ment and equipment, that both the Manual Training School 
and the High School could be served in the same building. 

This is in the nature of an informal inquiry to ascertain 
if the trustees would entertain a proposition from the town 
along the lines indicated, the trustees of course retaining full 
control of their property, and plant. 

Respectfully yours, 

The School Committee of the Town of Vernon, 

John G. Talcott, 

April 25, 1922. 


June 9, 1922 — Recommended that the school house at Ogden's 
Corner be enlarged to accommodate the pupils in that district. 

September 13, 1922 — Town meeting to see if the Town will vote 
to erect a new school building in that part of the town known 
as the West District. 

To see if the town will vote to authorize the Town School 
Committee to negotiate with the trustees of the George Sykes 
Manual Training School for the purpose of cooperation in the 
maintenance of a public school. 

November 1, 1922 — It was suggested that the new school building 
for the West District be named The Ellis Taft Hayward School. 

April 4, 1923 — Voted to name the new school "The Maple Street 
School." There was some discussion as to the re-naming of 
other schools and there was a sentiment that all schools be 
named to indicate their location, as Dobsonville, Hale Street, 
etc. The vote on Maple Street was unanimous. 

September 19, 1923 — New room suggested for Northeast School 
where the lower room is crowded with 37 pupils, of whom 19 
are in grade one. 

October 19, 1923 — Voted that the Committee approves in general 
the plans for the Manual Training and High School, and sug- 
gests to the trustees of the George Sykes Fund that if the pro- 
posed building is erected, it be made sure that the system of 
ventilation used be the best possible for a school building that 
it is feasible to incorporate in the plans, and that the trustees 
also consider the use of oil as fuel for heating the building. 

January 2, 1924 — Superintendent Clough reported that the new 
Maple Street School was opened for school work this very day 
and that all were pleased with the new school. The teachers' 
room was equipped by the teachers themselves. 

March 5, 1924 — The Committee reported that the desks, seats, and 
blackboards in the Old West School had been sold for $275. 

December 30, 1925 — Proposed changes of Old High School esti- 
mate Libby & Blinn of Hartford, $5,799.00. 

December 1, 1926 — Figures on the enumeration were 1951, a fall- 
ing off of 97 from last year, due partly to the closing of the 
Rock Mill. 


December 7, 1927 — Reported that windows in the old East build- 
ing had been boarded up as so many panes of glass had been 

January 20, 1928 — Because of a wide outbreak of smallpox cases 
in the State, the school committee of the town of Vernon at 
a special meeting held January 20, 1928, voted "that we recom- 
mend the vaccination of all school children, and that a letter to 
this effect be sent to all parents or guardians of the children. 
The charge for vaccination at the schools was fifty cents, and 
over 300 children were vaccinated. 

March 6, 1929 — Principal McClellan raised money in the school 
and purchased two busts, one of Washington and one of Lin- 
coln, for the Assembly room of the Maple Street School. 

April 3, 1929 — The report of the truant officer showed four 
cases of children looked up and returned to school by him. 

May 7, 1930 — Reported that the tower had been taken off of the 
East School. 

September 4, 1931 — After thoroughly considering the matter, it 
was voted to postpone the opening of the school until Septem- 
ber 14 because of the prevalence of infantile paralysis. 

February 3, 1932 — That the janitor of school at Vernon Depot be 
allowed a dollar a month for bringing water to the school 
house for drinking purposes. 

November 30, 1932 — That there be a reduction in salaries begin- 
ning in December, and in March, 1933, teachers received five 
per cent cut in pay. The Board also voted no opportunity 
room or drawing teacher. 

April 12, 1933 — That the belfry of the East School be removed at 
a cost of $62.00 — that the High School be closed because of 
scarlet fever and would open May 1st unless new cases ap- 
peared — that the music department be discontinued tempo- 
rarily for financial reasons. 

October 4, 1935 — A meeting of the Board of Education was called 
to consider the report of the General Committee of the Town 
desiring to build a school house and gymnasium as a Soldiers' 
Memorial. They recommended a twelve room school build- 


November 3, 1937 — The old Grammar school building on School 
Street is being demolished by the New York & Hartford House 
Wrecking Company. The Board will receive $100 and we 
were allowed to retain the old bell. 

November 1, 1939 — A letter was received from George Sturges, 
State Director of Law and Attendance, stating that payment 
by the Town for the transportation of children to parochial or 
other private schools is not authorized under the State Law. 

May 25, 1942 — That a physical director be engaged not to exceed 
$2700 per year under a contract not to exceed a three-year 

February 3, 1943 — That the building committee be empowered to 
convert the oil-burning boilers in the Sykes Memorial High 
School to coal-burning boilers, with approval of the Board. 

June 2, 1943 — That a certain tract of land on Dobsonville School 
property be turned over to the Selectmen of the Town to be 
used by Dobsonville Fire Department. 

December 8, 1943 — That Night School be discontinued after De- 
cember 16, due to small enrollment, and on the recommenda- 
tion of the Night School Faculty. 

March 7, 1945 — Philip M. Howe retires from position as Superin- 
tendent of Schools and Principal of the High School on com- 
pletion of contract in August, 1945. He served 42 years in the 
schools: nine as a teacher, 33 as a principal, the last eight years 
also as Superintendent of Schools. 

April 4, 1945 — Arthur E. Chatterton appointed Superintendent of 
Schools, and Allen L. Dresser, Principal of High School. 

September 5, 1946 — This was George Arnold's last meeting as a 
member of the Board on which he served faithfully eleven 

November 7, 1946 — It was the sentiment of the Board that the Su- 
perintendent should proceed to try to work out plans with the 
clergy of the town of Vernon such that the pupils of the town 
might have the opportunity to obtain religious education dur- 
ing the school day. 

November 7, 1946 — Voted that the Superintendent write a letter to 
the Selectmen of the town of Vernon asking that the land on 


East Street next to the Town Farm be set aside and be marked 
for a future school site so as to guarantee that if the Board 
of Selectmen should in the future be changed the land would 
still be guaranteed to the Board of Education. 

December 5, 1946 — It was observed that for the first time in many 
years a representative of the local papers has been present in 
that capacity, and Mr. Von Euw was cordially welcomed. 

In 1947 the gift of a new stage curtain by Mrs. Phelps was acknowl- 

April 7, 1948 — A new salary schedule for teachers was adopted — 
the minimum $2,200, maximum $4,000. 

In the year 1948 the High School "Banner" won second place hon- 
ors in its division in the National Contest among school publi- 
cations sponsored by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. 
Competed with magazines entered by Senior High Schools in 
all parts of the country with enrollments between 300 and 800. 

June 1, 1948 — Attorney Saul Peizer moved that a committee of 12 
be appointed to investigate the need of a new school in the 
town of Vernon, six residents from Rural Vernon and six from 
City of Rockville. Also exofficio members Board of Selectmen, 
Building Committee, Board of Education and Superintendent 
of Schools. 

City Committee Rural Vernon Committee 

Morgan Campbell Franklin Welles 

Mrs. E. Fenton Burke Martin Lehan 

Maurice Miller Eldna Johnston 

Forrest Musser Att. Saul Peizer 

Ralph Snape Alice Hammar 

Romeo Auclair Robert Marcham 

Exofficio Members Board of Education Building 

Board of Selectmen Committee 

Ernest A. Schindler Maurice L. Spurling 

Vincent F. Jordan Herman Olson 

John Rorup Dr. M. V. B. Metcalf 

The Committees appointed to make a study of the school needs 

June 29, 1948 — Special Town Meeting. 

Committee approved for Building Committee: 


Rural Vernon Bockville 

Saul Peizer Morgan Campbell 

Franklin Welles Allen Schaeffer 

Mrs. Eldna Johnston Ralph Snape 

Mrs. George Hammar Mrs. E. Fenton Burke 

Martin Lehan Romeo Auclair 

Robert Marcham Mrs. Herman Olsen 

March 29, 1949 — Special Town Meeting. 

Because of the large number of people present it was impos- 
sible to make a choice of a chairman. At this point Fire Mar- 
shal William Conrady addressed the meeting, stating it would 
be impossible to hold a meeting in this hall with such a large 
attendance. The main hall, stairways and entrance hall were 
all filled. Because of the existing hazard, he then ordered the 
hall cleared and the meeting automatically broke up at 8:22 
p.m. People in hall — about 1200. 

June 15, 1949 — Special Town Meeting at 7 p.m. in Rockville Rec- 
reation Field. Mr. Harry H. Lugg elected chairman. 
The School Building Committee had conducted an investiga- 
tion to determine the minimum new school facilities that must 
be provided at this time. 

As a result of investigating, the following recommendations 
are submitted for consideration: — 

1. That the town of Vernon erect two new schools 

(a) one at the East Street site to accommodate the ele- 
mentary pupils now attending Northeast, East and Old 
High Schools. 

(b) one at a site in Rural Vernon to accommodate the 
resident pupils now attending Talcottville, Vernon Depot, 
Maple Street, East, County Home and Old High Schools. 

2. That each of these proposed schools contains 9 grades 
and necessary auxiliary rooms, including a combination 
gymnasium and auditorium, each school to cost approxi- 
mately $300,000. 

3. That the town of Vernon apply for a grant to the 
Public School Building Commission of the State of Con- 
necticut in accordance with public act No. 333. The re- 
ceipt of this grant will reduce the above cost by the 
amount received. 


4. That the membership of the Vernon School Building 
Committee be enlarged to include the First Selectman and 
a member of the Board of Education. 

This year's elementary school enrollment has shown an in- 
crease of over 100 pupils. From all available statistics the 
school enrollment will continue to increase in a larger propor- 
tion during the next 5 years and the present facilities will not 
accommodate any such increases. Therefore, your committee 
strongly urges that immediate action be taken upon its recom- 

Resolved: that the present personnel of the Vernon School 
Building Committee be discharged with thanks, and be it fur- 
ther resolved, that the personnel of the Vernon School Build- 
ing Committee henceforth and until further amended by a 
Town Meeting duly warned for said purpose shall consist of 
the following members: First Selectman of the town of Vernon 
and his successors; Mayor of the city of Rockville and his suc- 
cessors, three members of the Board of Education and their 
successors, to be chosen by said Board; two members of the 
Board of Finance and their successors to be chosen by said 

Tellers reported 317 in favor, 428 opposed. 

June 28, 1949— Special Meeting. 

July 12, 1949 — Franklin Welles of the Vernon School Building Com- 
mittee appeared before the Board to explain the building site 
that had been investigated and chosen by the Building Com- 
mittee. This site, known as the Riley-Touhey site was priced 
at $10,400. The board approved the site, but thought the 
price excessive. On the other hand the location was central, 
the site large enough for a good school playground, has room 
for further expansion and was approved by the State Board of 

In September of 1949 — The Board was saddened at the news of the 
death of Francis S. Nettleton, Chairman from 1916 to 1924, 
and treasurer from 1924 to 1945. 

The Class of 1947 innovation in its program for graduation. In- 
stead of graduating in the traditional attire of evening gowns 
and suits, this year the class decided to graduate in cap and 


gown. Cut out expense and make ceremony more uniform 
and impressive. 

October 25, 1949 — Special Town Meeting. 

To vote upon the following resolution: "Be it resolved that 
the sum of $600,000 is hereby appropriated for the purpose of 
erecting, equipping and suitably furnishing two elementary 
schools within said town, said appropriation to include the pur- 
chase of sites for said 2 schools and all other costs and charges 
therefor, and the expenditure of said appropriation is hereby 
authorized on order of the Vernon School Building Commit- 
mittee and said Committee is hereby authorized and empow- 
ered to order expenditures out of said appropriation for the 
within and foregoing purposes." 
Result — Yes 832 — No 2546. Polls were open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

November 22, 1949, at 8 p.m., Sykes Auditorium — Harry H. Lugg 

1. Mr. Usher presented following resolution "Be it resolved 
that the Town is in favor of the immediate erection, equipping 
and suitably furnishing of one elementary school within said 
town at a total cost to include the purchase of the site and all 
other costs and charges therefore, or not more than $300,000. 
Unanimously passed. 

2. Committee to be known as the Vernon School Building 

3. Be it resolved that the Vernon School Building; Committee 
is hereby authorized and empowered immediately to seek an 
appropriation of not more than $300,000. 

That the Vernon School Building Committee is hereby author- 
ized and empowered to select a site for the elementary school 
— 250 present. 

December 20, 1949 

$6,000 appropriated for preliminary architects fee incurred for 
the building of school or schools. 

January 24, 1950 — We the undersigned members of the Town of 
Vernon School Building Committee hereby submit our resig[- 
nation as members of tlr's Committee, said resignation to take 
effect as of today. 

Signed: James Doherty, 

John E. Flaherty, John L. Kramer, 

Maurice L. Spurring, Thomas F. Rady. 


In May, 1950 — An inter communication system was installed in the 
High School wherebv announcements may be read each morn- 
ing and afternoon to the entire school. Pupils may be called 
from individual rooms and programs originated from the class- 

May 12, 1950 — Mr. J. McCusker was appointed Assistant Principal 
of Rockville High School. 


June 7, 1950 — At an executive session, it was passed that Mr. 
Dresser be given the position of assistant Superintendent of 
Schools in charge of finance at no increase in salary. 

September 26, 1950 — Special Town Meeting in Sykes Auditorium, 
Attorney Harry H. Lugg elected moderator. 
Mr. Marcham presented the following resolution: — "Be it re- 
solved that the Board of Selectmen, the Vernon School Build- 
ing Committee and any and all other officers of the town of 
Vernon, are hereby authorized and empowered and directed 
to take anv and all steps necessary, proper, or incidental to 
securing any and all financial aid or assistance which may be 
procurable from the State or Federal Government, or other- 
wise, which might assist in defraying, or reimbursing the town 
for, all or any part or parts of the appropriation set forth in 
paragraph one of the warning of Special Town Meeting held 
on Tuesday, September 26, 1950, and they and each of them 
are hereby authorized, empowered and directed to make, sign, 
execute and deliver any and all instruments necessary for the 
purpose of this resolution and of said warning. 
Motion seconded bv Franklin Welles, Voted. About 350 voters 

June 27, 1950 — That sum of $7,000 be appropriated to Board of 
Education for the purpose of establishing an Electrical Shop 
in the George Sykes Manual Training and High School, said 
sum to be reimbursed to the Town by the State of Connecticut. 

September 26, 1950. Resolved that the sum of $373,123.11 is here- 
by appropriated for the erection, equipping and suitable fur- 
nishing of one elementary school within the Town of Vernon. 

March 13, 1951 — Resolutions on the death of Philip Mead Howe: 

"Philip Mead Howe — a graduate of Yale University with 

Phi Beta Kappa honors, came to Rockville High School in 1903 

as a teacher of history. In 1912 he became principal, and 



in 1937 he added the duties and responsibilities of superin- 
tendent, whieh position he held until his voluntary retirement 
in 1945. 

"As a teacher of history, he was without a peer; as an 
administrator of the schools, he was unexcelled. His influence 
will long be felt by the Town he so ably served." 

Following his retirement, he served from 1947-1948 in the 
State Legislature as a representative of the Town of Vernon, 
and served as chairman of the Education Committee. 



On June 29, 1954, the Library celebrated the 50th Anniver- 
sary of the George Maxwell Memorial Library, known as the Rock- 
ville Public Library, by having "Open House" from 7 P.M. -9 P.M. 
There were short speeches made by officials of the city and town, 
Mr. Lugg, Mr. Belding and Miss Peck. The Library's treasures, 
consisting of the John Eliot Indian Bible, a page of the Gutenberg 
Bible, and many pictures and maps of old Rockville were on view. 

The local story opens with the year 1776 when there was es- 
tablished in Vernon, then North Bolton, a library which furnished 
to the small population of that distant time such books as were con- 
sidered by the founders "suited to promote useful knowledge and 
piety in the community." There is in the old Bolton records a 
manuscript containing a catalog and the articles for the founding, 
establishing, and perpetuating of a proprietary library in North 
Bolton Society, agreed upon and signed by the original proprietors 
April 17, 1776. Eighty -four names in all are affixed. The second 
signature on the list is that of Ebenezer Kellogg, minister of Vernon 




for 55 years and the last signature is that of George Kellogg. When 
a committee was appointed in 1808 to purchase more books, Ebe- 
nezer Kellogg and Phineas Talcott, his son-in-law served. The cost 
of a share in this library was ten shillings, and each signer bound 
himself in the sum of two pounds to abide by the rules and regu- 
lations of the association. Each proprietor was allowed to take 
out one book and keep it for three months, but he had to pay two 
pence per day for every day he kept it beyond that time. These 
good people took no chances on their treasurer stealing their money 
or their librarian losing their books, for each was placed under a 
bond of 200 pounds, which must have been well beyond any value 
in their hands. 

In 1808 there were 118 works, some of them in two or three 
volumes, and in that same year 48 were added. It is illuminating 
to observe that the books consisted largely of sermons and heavy 
religious treatises such as Dr. Watts' "Logic," Jonathan Edwards 
on "Religious Affections," and Harvey's "Meditations." There were 
a few books of more general interest — McKenzie's "Voyages in 
North America," Cook's "Voyages," etc. But here was the begin- 
ning of the diffusion of book knowledge in the Town of Vernon — 
a few books kept either in a private house or in some portion of 
the old Mother Church. 

The first authentic record of a successful attempt to establish 
a public library in the town of Vernon began with the formation 
of the Vernon Union Library Company, which adopted its consti- 
tution and by-laws in the month of February, 1811, with 80 sub- 
scribers, among whom was George Kellogg. Indeed the idea was 
born in his fertile mind. He was strongly impressed with the feel- 
ing that institutions of an educational and moral character should 
keep pace with the growth of the town and with the advancement 
of material wealth. In 1843 George Kellogg and Allen Hammond, 
then the managing owners of the New England Mill, purchased 
300 books for the use and benefit of the employees of the mill. 
The books were labelled The New England Company's Library. 
Unfortunately, the standard was too high and furnished reading 
matter which did not appeal to the tastes of those for whom the 
books were provided. The working man had not yet started on 
the way to a formal education. 

For twenty years the subject of a Public Library was frequent- 
ly discussed and its needs were publicly emphasized. Then a few 
public-spirited citizens — dreamy-eyed optimists — started a public 


subscription library and as a result 500 books were added to the 
New England Mill collection. This library was located in the of- 
fice of the White Gingham Mill, later the John J. Regan Manufac- 
turing Company, and was in charge of George F. Brigham, book- 
keeper of that company. Hudson H. Kellogg, possessing the daunt- 
less hardiness of those pioneer days, worked incessantly for its 
success, which was consummated by the proceeds of a fair held by 
an organization of young people known as the Mayflower Society. 
The books were loaned out on a subscription of $1.00 a year, and 
occasionally new books were added. Later the library was moved 
to the Probate office in the small bank building where the new 
Rockville National Bank was erected. After a short time it was 
removed to a room in the Exchange Block, in charge of E. W. 
Foote. New books were added in that store, so that in 1896 there 
were 2,000 books in the subscription library. 

In the meantime, throughout the town there was a growing 
thirst for knowledge. A German Reading Society met in Linck's 
Hall on Village Street, and the tingling and intense chronicle of 
the Secretary of that Society reveals that in the year 1892 their 
newly-organized library was in a flourishing condition with a mem- 
bership of over 200. There were 859 books in its library, and in 
that same year 200 additional books were purchased. The mem- 
bers met every Sunday at their room on Village Street for the ex- 
change of books. Monthly dues proved sufficient for the needs of 
the treasury. The majority of the books were in the German lan- 
guage, a few only in English. Many, in fact the majority of the 
German residents in Rockville at that time were unable to read 

The Franklin Institute for debates in Vernon and Village Im- 
provement Societies in Rockville were weather vanes waiting for 
the wind to blow in the right direction. The George Maxwell 
Fund of $5,000 opened a free reading room and library in the Union 
Congregational Church. Daily papers, weekly magazines and 
books attracted large numbers of men in the day and evening. 
That was in 1892. Miss Sarah Wicks, librarian for many years, re- 
ported an average attendance from 50 to 75 persons daily. Twenty 
thousand people visited the room in the year 1894. 

In 1893 a new enterprise was launched. George Maxwell be- 
queathed to the town of Vernon the sum of $10,000 for a free pub- 
lic library, provided the town in five years raise an equal sum, and 
on the 19th day of April, 1893, the legislature of the State of Con- 


necticut incorporated The Rockville Public Library, naming as its 
incorporators Francis T. Maxwell, William Maxwell, George Sykes, 
W. H. Prescott, Charles Phelps, A. Park Hammond and Joseph C. 
Hammond. Under the provisions of its charter there were sub- 
sequently added four other names — two from the city and two 
from the town. 

In that same year the Rockville Library Association was for- 
mally organized, and in 1895 the town appropriated $10,000 to 
secure the George Maxwell offer. As a result of this appropriation 
the new library was incorporated under the laws of Connecticut 
as the Rockville Public Library, and was opened June 12, 1896. 
It was located in the rooms occupied until recent years by the 
Telephone Company in the Hartford-Connecticut Trust Company 
building on Elm Street. The exact amount turned over to the li- 
brary directors was $12,600, being the amount originally bequeathed 
and accumulated interest. 

J. C. Hammond rushed to draw out the first book. On the 
first day, one hundred books were borrowed, 125 on Saturday and 
150 on Monday. Success followed immediately. At the first An- 
nual Meeting held in the office of the Aqueduct Company, Francis 
T. Maxwell presided, and the first report showed that the circula- 
tion started at 800 per week, 75% of which was fiction. Nine 
hundred people borrowed 18,100 books between June 11, 1896, and 
January 1, 1897. The town was allowed $200 for books by the 
State, and at the October, 1896, meeting of the town an appropria- 
tion of $300 was voted toward the maintenance of the public li- 
brary. The first librarian was Miss Geraldine Keating of the Al- 
bany School for Librarians. Her salary was $500 a year. She 
resigned after a year to return to her native land and in Bucking- 
hamshire, one hour from Londan, she enjoyed for many years a 
little cottage, a garden and a trout stream. 

George Maxwell not only bequeathed a sum of money which 
enabled this enterprise to be placed upon a substantial basis, but 
in his lifetime he gave to the subject careful and earnest thought. 
The same strong purpose and constant endeavor which character- 
ized him as a business man marked him also as a philanthropist. 
He loved church, school, library, and became their munificent 
patron. Into these institutions he put his money, but better than 
all, he put into them himself. He loved Rockville and all her in- 
stitutions. True, the wishes and purposes of his life were in some 
measure interrupted by his death, but the work which lay on his 
heart was taken up by the surviving members of the family in 1891. 


The present library building — The George Maxwell Memorial 
Library — on Union Street, was giyen to the Town of Vernon in 
the year 1904 in memory of George Maxwell by his wife, Harriet 
Kellogg Maxwell, and his children — J. Alice Maxwell, William Max- 
well, Francis T. Maxwell and Robert Maxwell, the privileges of 
the library to be free to all residents of the town of Vernon. The 
building, the equipment, the grounds, and the greater part of the 
money that it requires to sustain it, were given to the Town by the 
Maxwell family. Other people attracted by the noble work begun 
have occasionally left money for the purchase of books and for 
general expenses, and the Town gives $4,000 annually toward its 
support, but the Maxwell family by its generosity has made it 
possible for Rockville to have one of the finest of the small libraries 
in New England. 

Mr. Maxwell provided in his will the nucleus for a public 
library, the second clause reading, 

"I give and bequeath unto my executors hereafter 
named the sum of $10,000 in trust to invest and keep the 
same invested, and to receive the income thereof, and ac- 
cumulate the same, and if within two years after my death, 
a corporation shall be duly organized, to be called the 
Rockville Public Library for the purpose of establishing 
and maintaining a public library in the city of Rockville, 
and which shall have legal capacity to accept the legacy 
herein mentioned, and if such corporation shall procure 
for the purposes aforesaid, from other sources, the like sum 
of $10,000, then, and as soon as such conditions shall be 
complied with, I direct my said executors to pay over and 
transfer said sum of $10,000 and all accumulations of in- 
come thereon, or the securities in which the same may be 
invested, unto said corporation, to have and to hold the 
same for the purpose above mentioned forever." 

The location of the library on Union Street, west of the Fitch 
block, is ideal. It is central and easv of access to all parts of the 
Town, an essential taken into consideration by its projectors. 

The site was purchased by the Maxwell family from the Rock 
Manufacturing Company. Previously on the spot stood two dwell- 
ing houses, the one on the east was occupied by Mayor Edwin L. 
Heath and the other on the west by Crosslev Fitton. 

On Union Street, but facing West Main Street, stood the 
Maxwell home where the Maxwell children were born, "Kellogg 


Lawn." Next to the Maxwell house was the residence of Mr. 
A. W. Rice, whose drug store stood where Metcalf's drug store is 
now; and next was the home of Allyn Talcott, Phineas Talcott, and 
a third brother. The Talcotts had a grocery store in a building 
now occupied in part by Metcalf's Drug Store. 

About the first of March, 1903, ground was broken and exca- 
vation started. The first stone of the foundation was laid March 
13th. Charles A. Piatt, of New York, designed the building, and 
the contractor for its construction was F. L. Whitcomb of Boston, 
the contract price being $90,000 which together with the cost of the 
lot, furnishings, etc., represented an expenditure of about $150,000. 
Whitcomb had just built the beautiful and costly residence later 
owned and occupied by the Elks. 

The building itself, 86 x 42 ft. with an ell in the rear 30 x 52, 
is a commanding classic structure, architectually noble. The ex- 
terior is of white marble hewn from the quarries of Vermont. The 
interior finish is of Sienna marble and stained oak. The approach 
is impressive and majestic, two flights of granite steps leading up 
to eight Ionic columns. In the pediment is a bronze clock, illumi- 
nated by night. Over the small pediment at the entrance door is 
the carving of a book, symbolic of the library. The vestibule is 
lined with Formosa marble, unusually beautiful. In the frieze 
around the Reading Room appear the names of twenty-four of the 
greatest literary characters of all time — Shakespeare, Tennvson, 
Browning, Addison, Milton, Johnson, Bunyan, Chaucer, Homer, 
Virgil, Dante, Goethe, Thackeray, Scott, Dickens, Eliot, Emerson, 
Stevenson, Hawthorne, Longfellow, Burns, Bacon, Hugo, and Poe. 
Over the charging desk is a Latin inscription as vivacious as it is 
instructive. A good translation reads — "We drink from this foun- 
tain those things which are highest." 

The John Eliot Bible in the library was given bv Lion Gardi- 
ner in memory of his friend Robert Maxwell. This Bible was 
translated into the Algonquin language bv John Eliot who was 
known as "Apostle of the Indians," in 1663. 

About 1500 copies are said to have been printed. Some of 
these are in Oxford and Cambridge Universities; the British Mu- 
seum, and Trinity College, Dublin. In this country the Congres- 
sional Library, New York Public Library and the Boston Public 
Library own copies. There are 34 copies listed in a pamphlet pub- 
lished by the Library of Congress. 


The copy in the Rockville Public Library was used by an In- 
dian chief of the Nihantic tribe in Lyme, Connecticut. He gave it 
in 1812 to John Lion Gardiner of Gardiner's Island, New York. 

Three original John Brown letters are preserved in the library. 
One in June, 1839, West Hartford, tells that John Brown has re- 
ceived $2,800 to be expended for wool in Ohio or refunded when 
called for. The second letter, August, 1839, tells of John Brown's 
shame that he cannot refund the money, and that his property, etc., 
must be sold to repay the money he has borrowed. In the third 
letter, of July, 1846, ( Springfield ) , John Brown tells of sending four 
bags of No. 3 wool and one bag of wet wool. He writes of his 
confidence in George Kellogg as to the price of the wool. 

On a perfect day in June, 1904, people of the town of Vernon 
received through the mail this printed invitation — 

The honor of your presence is requested at the Dedi- 
cation ceremonies of the George Maxwell Memorial Li- 
brary of Rockville, Connecticut, on the afternoon of 
Wednesday, 29th June, 1904, at three o'clock, at the Union 
Congregational Church. 

The library will be open for inspection at the close 
of the Dedicatory exercises. 

The Maxwell Memorial Library was presented to the Town of 
Vernon on Wednesday, 29th June, 1904, in ceremonies of rare ex- 
cellence and able addresses. Beeman & Hatch's orchestra occupied 
a portion of the annex. The organ was not used. The only sing- 
ing was "America" by the audience. George Morgan Ward, Doctor 
of Divinity and Doctor of Literature, president of Wells College, 
offered the prayer. Hon. Charles Phelps presided and gave an 
address, which according to the newspapers of the day had rarely 
if ever been equalled in the city's history. 

Colonel Francis T. Maxwell, always the soul of brevity, made 
the presentation in these words: 

"Representing the Maxwell family, it gives me great 
pleasure to present to the Rockville Public Library the 
keys and title deeds of the George Maxwell Memorial 

Joseph C. Hammond, Jr., treasurer of the Rockville Public Library, 
accepted the trust. Next came an address by Professor George 
Rice Carpenter, of Columbia College, subject — "The Public Li- 


brary in New England Life and Letters." Governor Abiram 
Chamberlain gave a short address; the Benedietion was pronounced 
by Rev. J. Francis George, of St. John's Episcopal Church. 

Since this building was opened in 1904 the library has circu- 
lated close to three million books — the number of books in the 
library in 1954 was 29,000. The reference collection contains late 
editions of encyclopedias, dictionaries in foreign languages, and 
many other volumes too numerous to mention. Over 90 magazines 
are subscribed to. 

In 1954 the Children's Room, renamed the Junior Library, was 
moved upstairs to what was "Library Hall." This released space 
much needed for the overcrowded art and music books. 

The Rockville Public Library has given service to the schools 
through classroom libraries, talks on books given in the classes and 
instruction on the use of the library. When the new school was 
opened in Vernon 600 books were loaned, including encyclopedias, 
dictionary and an atlas. When the new school opens in the east 
end of the town, the library will give similar service. Service is 
given to high school students in the library where help is needed 
on reference problems and reading. The Tolland County Art As- 
sociation has held seven annual art exhibits in the library. 

Librarians in charge who have rendered faithful service 
through the years are 1896-1897 Miss Geraldine Keating; 1897-1906 
Florence Davis; 1906-1908 Lillian May Gamwell; 1908-1910 H. 
Elizabeth White; 1910-1912 Bessie Beckwith. Miss Edith M. Peck 
came to the library in 1912 and is still the courteous and compe- 
tent librarian. 

Amid the news stands, the radio, television serials, the motion 
picture houses of the Town of Vernon, the Rockville Public Library 
stands firm as the treasury of the writings of the centuries. Here 
the individual who still wants ideas which have not been watered 
down may find what he seeks. All of us owe a debt of gratitude 
to the library for its hospitality and helpfulness, indeed, the library 
is almost as vital a part of our educational system as the school- 

The story of the Rockville Public Library is the story of books, 
and books are not simply paper and ink and cloth — they are per- 
sonalities. They are a company of immortals who have walked 
the common road and are now marching on to eternity. Books are 
bridges which cross dark rivers — they are ships which carry us 
across the sea of despair. They open their hearts to us — they speak 


to us of their adventures, their romances, their tragedies, their 
explorations. They lift our horizons. They make us laugh and 
cry, fear and hope. 

This noble testimonial to the memory of the Maxwell family 
is placed at the entrance to the bookshelves: — 

"The year 1942 marks the passing of a family long 
endeared to the hearts of this community for their constant 
thoughtfulness and generous recognition of the needs of 
their fellowmen. 

The Rockville Public Library is a lasting example of 
a tireless effort begun by Harriet Kellogg Maxwell, her 
daughter Alice and three sons Francis, William and Rob- 
ert in 1903 as a memorial to their father George Maxwell. 
It was completed a year later, in character and design 
quite in keeping with the splendid traditions of this old 
New England family. 

A structure of beauty architectually and finished 
throughout in the minutest detail to accommodate the 
needs of the reading public, forthwith was presented to 
the Town of Vernon with the thought carefully concealed 
in the hearts of the donors that it would never become a 
burden to the recipient and it never has. Through these 
years the same painstaking attention has been kept active 
and productive of additions and gifts to enrich the body 
of the institution, first by one member of the family and 
then by another. The library was never permitted to close 
its books with a deficit. 

Finally, their generosity, shining the brightest as they 
bade goodbye to friends and relatives for the last time, 
has lighted the path whereby the Rockville Public Library 
will move ahead untroubled to its destiny as a real friend 
and public servant to those for whom the Maxwell Family 
intended it. 

It is a privilege to have lived with people like these. 
We may well thank God that this opportunity has been 

Recorded in the Minutes of The Corporators of 
the Rockville Public Library at the Annual 
Meeting held on January 26, 1943. 


Portraits of Mrs. Harriet Kellogg Maxwell, George Kellogg, 
Eliza Noble Kellogg and Nathaniel Olmstead Kellogg were pre- 
sented to the library by the late William and J. Alice Maxwell, 
while that of Colonel Francis McLean was presented by his great- 
great-granddaughter, Mrs. Mae Dickinson Chapman. 

Inscription on painting on card: "Colonel Francis McLean, 
son of Alexander McLean, born in Bolton, September 26, 1777, died 
in Vernon, November 18, 1861 — one of the Founders of Rockville." 
(A fine piece of restoration by Gustave A. Hoffman, of Rockville.) 

Portrait of Mrs. Maxwell, done by Charles Noel Flagg; Mrs. 
Harriet Kellogg Maxwell, daughter of George Kellogg, born May 
2, 1824, married November 3, 1846, died January 24, 1913. 

Mr. and Mrs. George Maxwell, parents of Colonel Francis T. 
Maxwell, William, Robert, and Miss J. Alice Maxwell. 



Title Page 

Approaching the City of Rockville 279 

The Choice of a Name 280 

Fox Hill 283 

List of Mayors and Clerks 286 

The City of Rockville 287 

Inauguration of City Government 291 

First City Council Meeting 292 

Records of Preliminary Meetings of Aldermen 293 

18 City Administrations from 1890 to 1954 294 

The Fire Department of the City of Rockville 335 

Title Page 

Entrance to City 279 

Fox Hill 282 

Old View from Fox Hill 283 

View from Fox Hill Looking West 285 

New Seal of City 287 

Samuel Fitch 291 

Swimming Pool at Henry Park 332 

Old "Fire King" 334 



Rockville is a charming little city, resting in a valley cup, sur- 
rounded by majestic trees and sunny hillsides. It is situated one 
hundred and twenty miles northeast of New York, and eighty-two 
miles south of Boston, as the airplane flies. Its outlines were orig- 
inally sketched by the supreme architect of the universe. 

As one approaches it from the east by way of the ancient Tol- 
land hills he is attracted by the romantic lake, the Shenipset, and 
charmed with its pellucid water and emerald shores, its wooded 
bluff and sloping beach; if he approaches it from the west, he be- 
holds a panorama of terraced houses rising tier above tier to the 
top of the hills, resembling a Mediterranean city which lies close 
to the shore; if he enters the city from the north, the farmlands of 
historic Ellington offer him an enchanting spectacle of Fox Hill 
and an impressive War Memorial Tower; and if he chooses to en- 
ter it from the south, an unbroken range of mountains provides for 
the landscape a long, magnificent vista, and gives the busy, hope- 
ful city of eight thousand souls a sense of security. 




For more than a hundred years Rockville remained a hamlet 
without a name. Its earliest history is imbedded in the Town of 
Vernon. The few inhabitants at the beginning clustered around 
the mills in a chain of little houses, and when in the year 1836 
the population grew to 440 (61 families with 89 children under ten 
years of age) the villagers desired a permanent name for the neigh- 
borhood to which they had been drawn by the beginnings of in- 

Families then living in Rockville were: Horace Vinton, Rufus 
West, Charles T. Talcott, Seth W. Johnson, Nehemiah Daniels, 
James Stewart, John Williams, Mrs. Northrop, George C. Weston, 
Chauncey Loomis, Winslow Woods, Trumbull Tracy, J. F. Judd, 
George Kellogg, Lucius Hinckley, Billings Bugbee, Mrs. Parmelia 
Dimmock, Selden McKinney, Austin McKinney, Willard Fuller, 
Loomis Thompson, Jehiel Fuller, W. O. Hough, Sanford Grant, 
John Gilmore, Eli Hammond, William T. Cogswell, Widow Otis 
McLean, Jr., George Lee, Christopher Burdick, Chauncey Win- 
chell, John Wyman, Joel Snow, William Kent, William Wiston, 
David Packard, Gurdon Grant, Francis Grant, Samuel Moredock, 
Horace Thompson, Benjamin Waller, Joel Vinton, Ralph Barber, 
Enoch W. Daniels, Ephraim Sanford, Isaac Sanford, A. G. Fitch, 
Andrew W. Tracy, Simon C. Chapman, William Champin, Miner 
Preston, Charles A. Buckland, William T. Lynch, Joseph D. Met- 
calf, Ephraim Parker, Benjamin Johnson, Carlo West, Halsey Ful- 
ler, Mrs. John Stebbins, Elizur Hurlbut, and Elijah Payne. 

In the early whisperings of spring, 1837 — a year of fiscal mal- 
nutrition — an amateurish notice posted on the Rock Mill announced 
a public meeting in the lecture room of the village to decide in a 
democratic way the most suitable name for the vicinity. Very 
soon the village would have a post office of its own, and a perma- 
nent name would then be necessary. A vigorous controversy in- 
troduced a number of suggestions: the name of Frankfort in honor 
of a pioneer, Francis McLean; Vernon Falls won a chirp of en- 
thusiasm; Grantville would perpetuate the memory of the first resi- 
dent; a fiery, arm-waving speech favored Hillborough, because of 
the hilly nature of the village; but the granitic solidity of Rock- 
ville seemed inevitable. "Going to the Rock" was a common ex- 
pression understood on the streets and a safe compass for direction. 



A certain Simon C. Chapman, who kept a local boarding house, 
and who knew from daily table discussion the wishes of the male 
population, acted with commendable alacrity and, without marked 
brilliance or artifice, submitted the name of Rockville. So Rock- 
ville became the name of the growing demesne. 





Fox Hill overlooks the famous Connecticut Valley, and pre- 
sents a panorama of some of the most charming landscape scenery 
to be found in New England. From its summit, six hundred and 
ninety-three feet above sea level, a magnificent view of the city, 
its immense mills, its stately churches, and schools and other public 
buildings, its attractive homes, and well-kept parks, may be had. 

Far away may be seen Mt. Holyoke, Mt. Tom, Enfield, Suf- 
field, Scantic, East Granby, Bartlett Tower, Talcott Mountain, a 
peak in Barkhamstead, Guilford, Durham, Middletown, Meriden 
Mountains, and the golden dome of the Capitol at Hartford. Two 
other points may be seen with strong glasses — Mt. Greylock, the 
monarch of Massachusetts, and the Town of Blandford. 

The top of Travelers' Tower, Hartford, according to City En- 
gineer Robert J. Ross, is 582.5 mean sea level, while the highest 
point on Fox Hill is 693 feet above sea level. The railroad track 
on Market Street is 391 feet; the top of Snipsic dam, 515 feet; the 
post office, 401.4 feet; and the Memorial Building, 401 feet. The 
lowest point in the city is at the corner of West and Union Streets, 
which has an elevation of 32.6 feet. 

The name of Fox Hill came by its own right. It was nearly 
covered with heavy timber, and there was plenty of wild game, 
partridges, gray squirrels and rabbits. Foxes had their dens on the 
hill. There was as much snaring of game as gunning in the early 
days of the town. Where the Gaynor Place and Chestnut and Pros- 


ii* fltclswi! af Vera«i 
wi tfe a pAjmlahon 
Su of fcflarics.U. 

Females tlo. 3'in. 
(' i 




pect Streets are now situated were then pine and hemlock and chest- 
nut trees. People in the village could sit on their doorsteps in the 
evening and hear the whippoorwills on Fox Hill. 

A hundred years ago the height of Fox Hill was the subject 
of much discussion. In the year 1847, Superintendent Kershaw, 
of the Windermere Mill, and Francis Keeney, then landlord of the 
Rockville House differed in their calculations, and finally decided 
to settle the matter by a wager, the loser to pay for a supper at 
the hotel. The question to be decided was the height of Fox Hill 
from the level of the railroad track. Kershaw won the argument, 
and Keeney, known always for his good sportsmanship, entertained 
seventy guests. Invitation cards had this wording: 

Fox Hill 302 Ft. 9 in. 


At Rockville Hotel 

Friday evening, December 12, 1847 

from 7:30 to 11 o'clock 

Refreshments consisted of oysters cooked in every conceivable 
style, cake and fruit. There were mirthful speeches, and the party 
proved so successful that it was decided Fox Hill should be meas- 
ured again at a not too distant date. 

Not everybody knows that in the year 1878 a tower was erected 
on Fox Hill — Jeffery's Tower. A Mr. Jeffery, of Meriden, came 
into possession of a piece of land at the summit and decided to 
build a tower sixty feet in height and rectangular in form; twenty 
feet square at the base, tapering to ten feet square at the top. The 
first story was boarded up, but the upper stories or platforms were 

Jeffery had married a Porter girl — a sister of the artist Charles 
E. Porter. The homes of Henry Vanness and Charles E. Porter 
stood side by side on the hill. 

Jefferry's Tower was opened to the public on Wednesday, May 
29, 1878. In the top story a fine four-foot telescope was placed for 
the use of visitors. The admission to the tower was fifteen cents. 
Ice cream and other refreshments were served to order in the base- 
ment. A steady stream of visitors enjoyed the fireworks and music 
and illuminations on the Fourth of July of that year. 



Unfortunately, two years later, on February 3, 1880, a blizzard 
blew down Jeffery's Tower, and the building trembled like a tele- 
phone wire in a storm. Later, Charles E. Porter, an artist of no 
mean reputation, used the first story for a studio, and there in- 
structed pupils in painting and drawing, in a temperature which 
occasionally dropped an uncomfortable distance below zero. 




Samuel Fitch — Manufacturer 1890-1891 

William V. McNerney — Carpenter 1891-1893 
E. Stevens Henry — Banker, but preferred to be called a farmer 1894-1895 

Edwin L. Heath — Bookkeeper Rock Company 1896-1899 

William H. Loomis— Dentist 1900-1903 

George Forster — Shoe Store Owner 1904-1911 

Lyman Twining Tingier — Lawyer 1912-1913 

S. Tracy Noble — Bookkeeper Hockanum Company 1914-1915 

John P. Cameron — Bookkeeper Hockanum Company 1916-1919 

Frederick G. Hartenstein — Printer 1920-1921 

Joseph Grist — Weaving Overseer Springville Mill 1922-1923 

John P. Cameron — Bookkeeper Hockanum Company 1924-1927 

George Forster — Shoe Store Owner 1928-1929 

Albert E. Waite — Bookkeeper New England Mill 1930-1933 

George C. Scheets — Overseer Springville Mill 1934-1935 

Claude A. Mills— Stationer 1936-1941 

Raymond E. Hunt — Paymaster Hockanum Mills 1942-1947 

Frederick S. Berger — Niles-Bement-Pond office 1948- 


Parley B. Leonard (1 term of 2 years) 
Martin Laubscher (1 term of 2 years) 
Frank A. Randall (6 terms of 12 years) 
John N. Keeney (8 terms of 16 years) 
Raymond E. Hunt (10 terms of 20 years) 
F. Leroy Elliott (2 terms of 4 years) 
Catherine D. Moran (1 term of 2 years) 
Margaret Kernan (part term) 

1949 to May 1951 resigned 

Catherine Moran appointed to fill term and reelected in 

Dec. 1951 to Dec. 1953 
Reelected December 1953 





For thirty years there was a growing desire to make Rockville 
a city or a borough, and as early as the year 1861 a petition was 
circulated and a bill introduced before the General Assembly pro- 
viding for a borough charter for Rockville, but it was adversely 

The advantages of a City Charter were set forth in the early 
part of 1884 in the local press. Many citizens asked the question: 
"Why postpone a step which ought long since to have been taken, 
one which will put our overgrown village into its proper position 
among the leading cities of the State, and which must eventually 
prove advantageous to all who call it home, to none more so than 
the very taxpayers who now shrink from it on the ground of ex- 
pense?" A thorough ventilation of the subject was sought. 

A wide-awake place, musical with the roar of falling waters 
and the cheerful hum of industry, enthusiastic and progressive, 
Rockville claimed the giant water power for its use and gathered 
gold from its streams by the hand of inventive labor, furnishing 
clothing, both cotton and woolen, for mankind, paper overcoats 
for letters, and useful thread and ornamental silk for the house- 
hold. Why should it not have City control? 

The city government would be entirely independent of town 
management, and would assume the absolute control of its streets 
and highways, fire department and sewage. It could make and 
enforce ordinances respecting buildings, streets and walks, street 



lighting, the preservation of the public peace, all matters relating 
to the public health, and a thousand other things necessary to the 
well-being of the community. 

On Friday, February 1, 1884, the following announcement 

"Notice is hereby given to the citizens of Rockville 
that a public meeting will be held in Rockville Hall next 
Monday evening, beginning at 7:30 for the purpose of dis- 
cussing the question whether Rockville shall be made a 
borough or a city in this year of our Lord 1884. All who 
wish to express themselves on this very important ques- 
tion shall rise and explain at Rockville Hall next Monday 

Several hundred attended the meeting for the purpose of dis- 
cussing a definite question, "Shall we apply to the present legisla- 
ture for a borough or city charter?" Cyrus White vociferously ex- 
claimed in meeting: "Our taxes for the last twenty years have been 
outrageous, and have fallen with especial force upon the owners 
of small properties. City government would double it. This bor- 
ough talk is all poppycock." A motion made by A. P. Hammond 
to abandon all steps toward obtaining a city or borough charter 
was carried by an overwhelming majority. The session lasted only 
about three-quarters of an hour. 

An editorial two years later reflected the attitude of the vil- 
lagers toward city government: 

"If there is cne thing needed more than any other in 
our village, it is street lights, but no one seems to be anx- 
ious to take the initiative. A movement to this end, how- 
ever, is now well under way, and on Friday evening it is 
expected an organization will be formed which shall make 
permanent properly lighted streets. Every citizen who is 
obliged to go about our streets of dark nights appreciates 
the terrible strains he gets by unexpectedly stepping off 
some high curbstone into a deep gutter, or into a gully 
washed in the sidewalk. Our population has a right to 
expect the accommodation of more light for their comfort 
and safety during their evening peregrinations. Safety 
of life and limb demands well-lio;hted streets. 


'The most feasible way to this and other improve- 


ments may be effected by means of a Village Improvement 
Society. There is no reason why Rockville could not have 
a Society of 200 members. Go to Rockville Hall on Friday 
evening to assist in organizing such a society for the public 

At a meeting a week later, with Brigham Payne as chairman, 
it was decided to form such a Society with a membership fee of 

Three years later, the Hartford Times of the first of February, 
1889, informed us: 

"Over 800 signatures have been obtained in Rock- 
ville to the petition for a City Charter. The people are 
overwhelmingly for it. The mills — the corporations oppose 
it. It would, they think, involve the cost of graded and 
flagged sidewalks, perhaps a cost of $2.00 a foot. But the 
crying want of Rockville is a system of sewerage. It is sore- 
ly needed. The petitioners for a city charter have, to re- 
inforce them a petition to the Vernon selectmen by 400 
of the women of Rockville, for a system of street lights. 
The selectmen say they lack the authority." 

The committee hearing on House Bill #230, incorporating the 
City of Rockville was held at room 60, at the Capitol, Wednesdav 
afternoon, February 27, 1889. 

E. Stevens Henry was the first gentleman to appear before 
the committee. In presenting the petition he stated — 

"Rockville contains the largest population of any vil- 
lage in the State without some kind of municipal organiza- 
tion. The petition of the taxpayers of Vernon, in behalf 
of a city charter for Rockville numbers over six hundred 
names, enthusiastically in favor of the proposed charter. 

"In addition to this petition to the General Assembly, 
I have here a petition addressed to the Selectmen of the 
Town of Vernon and signed by more than 400 representa- 
tive ladies of Rockville, 'We, the undersigned, members of 
the Women's Christian Temperance Union and ladies of 
Rockville, lamenting the unsafe conditions of our streets 
and the frequent outrages perpetrated under cover of 
darkness and believing that existing circumstances demand 
prompt action, do most earnestly petition your honorable 


body to so increase lights and police force on our streets 
as to make them as safe as possible for the unprotected.' 
This petition of the ladies was respectfully returned by 
one Selectman with regret that under existing law it could 
not be granted by the Town." 

Other gentlemen to appear before the committee were Judge 
West. George M. Paulk. William V. McNamey and G. W. Randall. 

The Legislature of the State of Connecticut approyed a Char- 
ter incorporating the Cits' of Rockyille on March 28, 1889. 

Thus the curtain of the recorded history of the City of Rock- 
yille was raised on April 13, 1889, for on that day the yoters of 
Vernon declared their deliberate choice for a City Charter. There 
had been more thinking than talking on the subject among the 
citizens for a long time, and the ballot disclosed 963 yoters fa- 
\ored the Charter, while 127 were opposed to it. 

The adopted charter had been prepared with considerable 
thought. Charters from other cities, notably Danbury, had been 
examined. Finally, the selectmen of the Town of Vernon were 
instructed to call the first annual meeting of the City of Rockyille. 

The warrant for the first meeting of the Citv of Rockyille read: 

"Freemen of the City of Rockyille who are electors 
and equally qualified to yote at the meeting of said citv 
are hereby warned that the first Annual Meeting of said 
Citv will be held on Monday, December 2, 1889. The city 
officers to be elected are a mayor, a clerk, a treasurer, a 
citv sheriff, two auditors and three assessors. The ward 
officers to be elected in each ward are an alderman and 
two councilmen." 

The first municipal election, December 2, 1889, was closely 
contested. Samuel Fitch, Republican, was elected mayor by a 
majority of only se\*en yotes over Silas Putnam, Democrat (597- 
590 ) . Fitch's election occurred on his 68th birthday. ( He was 
born December 2, 1821, at Enfield, Connecticut.) 



The officers, including the aldermen and councilmen, met in 
the Fitch Building on Monday evening, January 6, 1890, as re- 
quired by the charter, and to them was administered the oath of 
office by Mayor Fitch, who had been previously qualified, and was 
duly certified. Mayor Fitch addressed the assembly thus: 

To the Honorable Board of Common Council: 

The General Assembly at its January session, 1889, passed 
an act incorporating the City of Rockville, and in said 
act, the Mayor is directed to recommend the adoption of 
all such measures connected with peace, securitv, health 
and general well-being of said city, and the improvement 
of its government and finances as he shall deem expedient. 



We are entering upon a field of action that is new to most, 
if not all of us. Let moderation and equity prevail, and 
laying aside all party prejudice, may we do those things 
which our consciences shall dictate to us are right for the 
best interests of the city at large, to the end that when 
our terms of office shall have expired, we may receive the 
approval of our constituents. 

To perform the duties of mayor in his absence or in case of 
a vacancy he appointed W. E. Payne as President of Aldermen, and 
Edwin L. Heath President Common Council. 

The Woman's Christian Temperance Union presented a peti- 
tion which, after congratulating the Mayor on his elevation to that 
office, prayed that the laws against the sale of intoxcating drinks, 
Sabbath violations in sale of liquors, sale of cigars and cigarettes 
to minors under 16 be rigidly enforced, and they made a protest 
against the display of indecent pictures and posters, and asked for 
a public reading room. They also expressed a desire for electric 
lights to make the streets safer and more comfortable at night, a 
police force, the regulation of building lines, and local improve- 
ments which will suggest themselves to the thinking mind. 


The first meeting of the City Council after Rockville had be- 
come a city in 1890 was held on the evening of January 10 in the 
council rooms of the Fitch Block. Those present at this first Coun- 
cil meeting were E. L. Heath, T. S. Pratt, C. E. Harris, Almon 
Harris, H. L. Allen, L. Young, and J. McPherson. The council 
voted that their meetings should not be open to the public and ad- 
mittance was refused to the newspaper men. But with the assist- 
ance of a ladder to an open transom in an adjoining room, and a 
"leak" from one of the members, the newspaper reporters were 
able to give a full report of the meeting the next day. There was 
protest from many citizens against the closed sessions. 

On January 21, two weeks later, therefore, it was — "Resolved 
that any voter of the city of Rockville or any representative of the 
Press shall have the privilege of attending the meetings of the 
Board." This has continued to be the policy of the Council. 


The first meeting of the aldermen was called to order at 8:30 
p.m. January 6, 1890, with Mayor Fitch in the chair. 

The First Resolution authorized the Mayor to appoint a com- 
mittee consisting of one alderman and two councilmen to investi- 
gate the matter of street lights as to number of lamps, location 
of same, cost of same, and report at a future meeting. 

Resolution 2 — To consider the matter of a Police Force. 

Resolution 3 — To provide amount of appropriations necessary. 

Resolution 4 — To recommend consideration of Common Coun- 
cil of an ordinance regulating building lines on the streets of the 

Voted — A non-partisan Police Force to be uniformed and to 
consist of four men, a captain and three patrol or policemen, — 
Captain to get $750 per annum; patrolmen, $45 per month. That 
was amended and it was passed that patrolmen be paid $52.50 per 

January 20, 1890. Electric Light Company to furnish 60 lights 
for not less than 300 nights per year from dusk to 12 o'clock mid- 
night, cost of same not to exceed $75 per light and to be located 
and strung as the Common Council may direct. 

February 3, 1890 — Committee on Electric Lights — After an 
interview with the Committee of the Rockville Gas Light Com- 
pany and receiving a proposition from Westinghouse Electric Com- 
pany to light the streets upon a five-year contract at $75.50 per 
lamp, recommended asking local firm to meet latter offer. 




The streets of Rockville were illuminated by the electric lights 
on Sunday evening, January 5, 1890, a short time previous to "moon 
up." Streets were crowded with people to enjoy the transforma- 
tion scene. This was actually for demonstration purposes only, 
for the voters had not yet given their approval. The terms sub- 
mitted by the Rockville Gas Light Company — $80 per light from 
dusk to 12 o'clock — seemed excessive to the city fathers. The 
Westinghouse Electric Comupany offered to do approximately the 
same work for $75.50 per lamp per year provided they were given 
a five-year contract. 

In spite of the lower offer it was decided to do business with 
the home company, who had already put up the poles, lamps, and 
wirings. Further negotiations were held with the local concern 
which resulted in a satisfactory agreement. 

Then further developments occurred. On March 7, 1890, a 
number of merchants met to make plans for lighting their stores 
through another local concern. One hundred shares of the stock 
were taken at the meeting at $25 per share. 

On the first of May, this group petitioned the City Council 
for the right "to erect poles and place wires in and through the 
streets for the purpose of supplying electric light and power" — 
through the Merchants' Electric Light and Power Company, George 
F. Talcott, president. But on June 5 no action was taken at the 
meeting, and the matter was laid on the table. 

July 27, 1890 — Voted not to give the Salvation Army privilege 
to stand on the streets to hold meetings. 

September 22, 1890 — The need of a new lock-up was reflected 
in Captain Cady's report. The number of lodgers, tramps, and men 
out of work finding a place to sleep was 252: number of arrests 
157, drunks 95. 

November 4, 1890 — A Committee of three was appointed to 
see if corrections or revisions of the city charter should be submit- 
ted for action at the next session of the legislature. 

February 12, 1891 — Voted that the Selectmen be a committee 
to confer with the New England Telephone Company for the pur- 



pose of having a telephone located in police headquarters or in 
town clerk's office for city business. 

February 9, 1891 — Voted to dispose of the old hand engine 
known as "The Fire King," upon such terms as seem best in the 
interest of the city. 

Mayor Fitch announced in his second annual message January, 
1891, that the town had voted to turn over the fire department to 
the city. He expressed a desire for electric lights in the outlying 
districts, and wisely remarked that new enterprises invite new in- 

September 15, 1891— The Council had difficulty in getting a 
quorum at the meeting on Tuesday. Finally it was secured by 
sending a hack for Councilman Allen, who arrived a little after 
the appointed hour of 8 o'clock, when the meeting was called to 
order by the Mayor. Similarly, because of the absence of a quo- 
rum on Monday, September 28, no meeting of the aldermen could 
be held. 

October 15, 1891— F. I. Hartenstein presented a bill for $2.32. 
Alderman Tingier explained it was for engraving several pairs of 
handcuffs for the police department. A pair had been stolen and 
some method of marking those remaining seemed necessary. The 
bill was ordered paid. 

The very year Rockville became a city the American people 
were swept with a consuming passion which left them with little 
time for money or anything else. Many theaters were closed, con- 
sumption of cigars fell off at the rate of a million a day, trade in 
pianos dropped 50%. The distraction? America had discovered 
the bicycle, and everybody was making the most of the new free- 
dom it brought. Now he could go where he wanted, when he 
wanted, at a speed many times faster than he could walk, and with- 
out the need of horse or public conveyance. 

The 1890's were the years of bicycle popularity, but what in- 
genuity marked the beginning! In 1891 we learn H. W. Loomis of 
Southington is making a unicycle that he thinks will astonish the 
world. The large wheel is to be 9 feet in diameter and inside of 
this an arrangement much like a common safety wheel runs. The 
plan seems to be like that of a man walking inside of a big hoop, 
his weight when thrown forward revolving the whole. The steer- 
ing wheel is in the rear, and is worked by rods, like a boat rudder, 
from the handle bar. The machine is expected to travel a mile a 




William V. McNerney became mayor at a favorable time finan- 
cially with a balance on hand of $8,039.91, no outstanding notes, 
and very few local bills to pay. It is alarming, however, to dis- 
cover that during a portion of the year 1892 the city was in dark- 
ness, solely because the estimates for the fiscal year ending No- 
vember 15, 1893, could not be exceeded except by a two-thirds 
vote of the Common Council and the sanction of the voters at a 
special meeting called for that purpose. This the Council very dex- 
terously avoided. The executive could not in any way bind the 
City in excess of the appropriation, so they refused to sign the bills 
for street lighting until such bills came within the appropriations. 
In his day, Mayor McNerney dared to call the system of local tax- 
ation antiquated, unjust, and extortionate, a system which he 
claimed discouraged the coming of new industries to Rockville. 

On Monday, July 11, 1892, the Aldermen passed a resolution 
to shut off the street lights on July 15 until such time as a satisfac- 
tory agreement could be made with the Electric Light Company. 
The rates had been raised from $75 per lamp to $80 per lamp, and 
a city meeting had voted not to pay the advanced rate. Follow- 
ing concurrence of the Council, the lights were shut off Saturday 
night, July 16, 1892, and the city was in darkness. 

No longer did the bright rays of the electric lights shed a 
radiance on the street! Now on a dark night, there was nothing 
to prevent a man from running into hitching posts and trees or 
bunting his head into that of another benighted pedestrian. 

The streets of Rockville remained in darkness, and on Sep- 
tember 19, 1892, the committee on lighting reported: Whereas the 
Rockville Gas and Electric Light Compairy demand $80 per lamp 
for a period of 300 nights per year, running from dusk until 12 
o'clock midnight and other companies will furnish the same service 
under bond for $70 per lamp — Committee's conclusion is: City 
must adopt one of three courses — 

1. Own and control its own electric light plant. 

2. Pay the Rockville Gas & Electric Light Company what 
they demand. 

3. Remain in darkness. 


A discussion on the electric light problem at the October 
meeting was getting very lively when the fire alarm rang. The 
crowd concluded that the question of the lights could wait and 
made a rush for the door. The meeting adjourned without action. 

October 3, 1892 — Xo quorum being present, the meeting was 

At the meeting on October 4, 1892, Alderman Fahey intro- 
duced a resolution — Resolved that the Electric Light Committee 
be and are herebv instructed to make such arrangements with the 
Rockville Gas Light Companv as will have the streets lighted until 
further arrangements can be made in accordance with the citv 
votes of October 1, 1892. This was adopted. 

October 17, 1892 — Alderman Doane introduced a resolution — 
Resolved that a special citv meeting shall be called not later than 
November 15, 1892, to see whether the city will authorize the Com- 
mon Council to appropriate a sum not exceeding 825,000 for the 
purpose of purchasing and installing of an electric light plant, 
including the necessary land and buildings, said plant to be owned 
and operated in accordance with a vote of said citv October 4, 1892. 
This was adopted. 

On November 21, 1892, Resolved that the Mayor be and is 
hereby instructed to insert in the warning a call for 825,000 for 
the purchase and installing an electric light plant, including the 
necessary land and buildings, also an estimate of 86,000 for the 
necessary running expenses of said plant or so much as mav be 
necessary, not exceeding 86,000. 

Also an estimate of 86,000 to defrav the expense of lighting 
the streets of the city under such arrangements as mav be made 
with the present Rockville Gas Companv to light said streets with 
arc lights of 1200 candlepower at $75.00 per year for 300 nights 
in the year. 

Prior to the discussion on lights it was decided to take action 
against New York and New England Railroad Company to compel 
the company to construct the Railroad bridge over the proposed 
highway from Spring Street to Grand Avenue in accordance with 
the order of the Railroad Commission. 

January 16, 1893 — A communication was received from Wm. 
H. Marigold, mayor of Bridgeport, to ascertain if the Citv of Rock- 
ville would be willing to act with other cities in an endeavor to 
have laws passed by the legislature relative to Electric Street Rail- 


ways to secure rights to cities which they do not now possess. A 
committee was appointed. 

July 24, 1893 — The proposals of the New Gaynor Electric 
Company of Louisville, Kentucky, to furnish and install a Three 
Circuit Electric Fire Alarm System were considered and the Mayor 
was asked to execute contract of $2,495 for four circuits instead 
of three. 

August 7, 1893 — Voted to contract with trustees of the Meth- 
odist Society for the use of said Society's church tower and bell for 
fire alarm purposes: 

1. The city to guarantee the bell from all damage by use of 
the striker thereon. 

2. The city will pay any increased insurance rate, imposed by 
reason of Fire Alarm wire being connected with said build- 

3. The city to pay said Society the annual rental of $30.00. 

August 17, 1893 — Report of High School building — new struc- 
ture completed, commodious, complete and architecturally hand- 

Of local interest is the fact that Connecticut Legislature in 
the year 1893 passed a statute giving libraries established under 
certain conditions an annual gift of books valued at $100. 



The fifth year of Rockville's municipal history found a young 
and growing city confronted with a season of business depression 
which paralyzed local industries. Fortunately, the capable E. 
Stevens Henry was elected mayor in 1894. He devoted much 
thought to practical reforms: the improvement of streets; electric 
roads; the need for economy; unjust taxation. 

As to streets, this is his timely suggestion: 

"It appears eminently proper that the names of men 
and of families associated with the history and building 
up of Rockville should be honored, and their memories 
preserved to future generations by using their names to 


designate our streets, parks, and public places. There are 
several objectionable street names, and short streets which 
lead nowhere, forming a cul-de-sac but styled 'avenues.' " 

A firm believer in the electric roads, he said: 

"The steam road has been a good thing for Rockville, 
but from it we failed to get what we anticipated, what we 
paid for and what we had a right to expect. In the con- 
struction of the electric roads lies Rockville's opportunity." 

As to the depression he urged: 

"It shall be our endeavor as the selected guardians 
of the public interest to use our best efforts to reduce pub- 
lic expenses to a minimum; not forgetting that the citizens 
of Rockville, whose servants we are, have the right at all 
times to require of us a careful conservation of their in- 
terests, and that most especially will they during the pres- 
ent period of public stress hold us to a strict account- 
ability for the use and disposal of public funds." 

As to taxation he said: 

"The time cannot be far distant when our people will 
demand a reassessment of all taxable propertv upon a just 
and equitable basis. Of many things needful for the well- 
being of Rockville, none are of more importance than Tax 

Progress was made in matters of transportation according to 
Mayor Henry: 

January 17, 1895 — "Petitions for electric street railways are 
as plentiful as apples in a good year. They have entirely changed 
the situation. The steam roads are opposing them in every way as 
dangerous competitors, especially along the shorter suburban lines, 
where they parallel the steam roads. In some instances the elec- 
trics have taken the whole traffic from the steam roads." 

January 21, 1895— The City Seal. 

Alderman Heath presented the following resolution: 

Whereas, in the earlv davs of the Citv government a seal was 
adopted which at the time was deemed sufficent as a seal, but lack- 
ing in artistic design and 

Whereas the Knowles Loom Works of Worcester, Massachu- 


setts, having had brought to their notice the rather crude design 
of a loom as represented on our city seal, have seen fit to tender 
the city a design of a Loom with the background of our hills and 
Lake Snipsic. 

Resolved that the design be accepted and adopted as the cor- 
porate seal of the City of Rockville, and the city clerk procure a 
die of said design for use as the seal of the City. 

Resolved that the Knowles Loom Works be tendered the 
thanks of the Common Council for their good will towards our city 
as shown by the gift of said design. 

January 31, 1895 — Announcement made that the railroad is 
now in the hands of the receivers. 

July 25, 1895— Petition for Badge. 

Petition presented by city reporters asking city to designate a 
badge which shall be worn by reporters and which shall be recog- 
nized by Fire Department and Police as sufficient authority to 
admit them within the lines at any fire. 

September 26, 1895 — The Park Association gives the city title 
to Talcott Park, under the conditions under which it is now held 
by the park association. 

1895 — This year an important change was made from separate 
to joint meetings of aldermen and council with the sanction of the 

An ordinance regulating bicycle riding was passed: "No one 
shall ride unless such bicycle has a bicycle bell attached to it. He 
shall have full and absolute control. Fine not more than $15 nor 
less than $1.00." 

It was decided at the same meeting to enforce more strictly 
the ordinance in regard to the erection of buildings. 

March 19, 1896 — The lockup according to last report had 308 
lodgers against 671 in the same time last year. 



Edwin L. Heath became mayor in 1896, continuing in office 
until 1900. He filled out the unexpired term of E. Stevens Henry, 
who was elected as Congressman. Evidently liability insurance 


companies were not very aggressive then, for the mayor had diffi- 
culty in obtaining bonds for the city officials. "It has come to my 
notice," so the mayor's message runs, "that there is a growing diffi- 
culty to get even good friends to act as surety on bonds of this or 
any other character." 

A proposition from the Hartford, Manchester, and Rockville 
Tramway Company offering electric service between Rockville and 
Hartford was received and favorably considered. 

In 1897 Eugene V. Debs spoke in the Opera House to 500 

January 6, 1898 — First meeting of Council of 1898 — Mayor 
Heath expressed the desire for good macadam roads for city, and 
permanent road-building, little by little. Hammond Park at the 
junction of Main, Union and Elm Streets, after grading and stocked 
down in the early spring, will prove it was good judgment to save 
this as a green spot rather than throw it out as roadway. 

Standpipe on McLean's Mill completed. 

The advisability was discussed of erecting a building in the 
rear of the Memorial building to provide not only for the Fire De- 
partment apparatus but also room for Police Department and City 

Congratulations were extended to Charles Phelps on his elec- 
tion as Attorney General, the first to fill that office in the State. 

January 23, 1896 — Meeting of the Corporators of the Rockville 
Public Library held in Los Amigos Hall last Friday. The $10,000 
legacy left by George Maxwell was accepted — $12,600 with in- 
terest — and a check of $10,000 from the town of Vernon was pre- 
sented and accepted. 

"In view of the fact that the postmaster general has ordered 
free delivery in the City of Rockville to take effect April 1, 1896, 
and the systematic numbering of all the houses within the city 
limits is essential to such free delivery, the Court of Common 
Council hereby authorizes Lewis M. Jones to do such numbering 
under the direction of the Superintendent of Public Works, the 
said numbering to be done at the expense of the property owners 
and without cost to the city." 

Rockville became connected with outside world by trolley on 
Saturday morning, January 8, 1898. Scheduled for 6:45, the first 
car was run by the Hartford, Manchester and Rockville Tramway 
Company. It was a never-to-be-forgotten day in the town's his- 


tory and marked a new epoch in transportation. Owing to a delay 
in cutting away the ice at West Street which had formed in the 
flangewavs of the rails, the trollev seemed a long time coming, but 
when it actually arrived, ten minutes late, there was genuine re- 
joicing. Two extra cars were run on Sunday, the 9th, to accommo- 
date the rush. Charles Mensig paid the first nickel. The whole 
town went trolley wild — the line was popular, the fare nominal. 
For two years people had talked trolley, trolley, trolley. Now 
the trolley was actually here. 

The Company made its fare for school children three cents 
from Rockville to Talcottville, consequently about all those attend- 
ing the Rockville school from that section traveled trolley de luxe. 

In January, 1906, the New York, New Haven and Hartford 
Company assumed control, having purchased the road from the 
Shaw syndicate. 

Hartford, Manchester and Rockville Tramway Company sched- 

First car leaving Rockville for Hartford at 6:45 a.m. and there- 
after hourly until 9:45 p.m. The car leaving Rockville at 10:45 
p.m. will go to the barn at South Manchester, as will the theater 
car which will arrive in Rockville about 12:15 a.m. 

First car for Rockville in the morning will leave Hartford at 
7:15 a.m. Cars will leave thereafter hourly until 9:15 p.m. There 
will also be a car which will leave Hartford for Rockville at 10:45 
p.m. if the performances at the theaters have closed. If not, this 
car will wait for passengers coming from the theaters. 

The trolley affected the railroad immediately, for on January 
17, the 7:30 p.m. train for Hartford on the Rockville branch made 
its regular run to Vernon (4 miles) without a single passenger. 
The only persons in the cars were Conductor Henry Vanness, the 
brakeman, and baggage master and express manager, Wm. Dowl- 

January 20, 1898 — Senator T. A. Lake secured internal reve- 
nue collectorship Thursday — a Rockville man. 

Thursday, January 27, 1898 — Methodist parsonage debt paid. 
In 1889 parsonage property, a commodious dwelling at 91 Union 
Street, purchased at $3,800 — a free gift to the trustees of the 
Church. The perseverance of the Parsonage Society was shown 
in a celebration on Friday night in the vestry of the church. 

Thursday, February 3, 1898 — Worst snow storm since the 


great blizzard of March, 1888. Snow began early Monday morn- 
ing. At night the storm increased in fury. Tuesday morning found 
streets piled high. 

June 9, 1898 — The Council talk again of consolidation of the 
city and town. 

In 1898 the New England Railroad is absorbed by the New 
York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad. 

October 6, 1898 — Town voted to abolish the bounty on foxes. 
The town paid $28 for dead foxes last year. 

November 14, 1898 — Police Captain Cady's report for the year 
showed with unblinking accuracy 138 arrests, 981 lodgers as 
against 554 last year. 

Heavy snowstorm a day or two after Thanksgiving, 1898. 
Storm began early Saturday morning, flakes descended in a lazy 
manner and kept it up without abatement until late Sunday after- 

In his January, 1899, message Mayor Heath called attention to 
the need of a comprehensive system of culverts designed to keep 
the surface water which collects on our streets during heavy storms 
from running directly into the canals and ponds of our factories 
and mills. 

Mayor Heath declared with emphasis: 

"The trolley service we have had for a year, and have 
found it a necessary evil, one of those evils we are com- 
pelled to forgive; for which we must acknowledge it has 
grievously hurt some of our mercantile lines of trade, but 
it has at the same time provided a way for cheap travel 
for the masses, and a source of pleasure to nearly all in the 
summer time. The report of the Captain of Police noted 
that the number of lodgers, not all, but most all, are 
tramps, last year over the year 1897 was 430, a gain of 
nearly 78 per cent. This increase is too large, and if the 
Police Commission or the Common Council can devise 
some means of lessening the number of tramps who come 
and go, the residents, especially the female portion, will 
appreciate the reduction of 'weary wayfarers.' " 

In that year of 1899 an appropriation of $800 was made for a 
bathhouse in the city for the "benefit of those who have not the 
facilities of a modern bathroom." 


Tuesday, November 29, 1899 — A town vote rescinded the vote 
on October 2, when consolidation of schools was carried. The total 
vote 546 of which 399 in favor of rescinding, 147 against, majority 
252 for rescinding. Polls closed at 5 p.m. 

December 8, 1899 — Taxpayers cut down the appropriation for 
the Police Department $4,800 next year. The adjourned meeting 
was one of the liveliest in years — the biggest city meeting on rec- 
ord. Probably 700 in hall. The large number of small taxpayers, 
who feel the burden of taxation severely, have been agitating for 
a year for a cut in city expenses, and attended the meeting in 
force, prepared to vote solidly for retrenchment. 

Three thousand dollars asked for steam road roller. Retrench- 
ers promptly voted this down. Appropriation was $6,750 instead 
of $9,750 asked by the Council. Police Department next. 

It was moved that the item of salaries for Police Department 
be made $2,000 instead of $3,800 as asked for. Carried. The force 
to be two men — a captain and one patrolman, the former to do 
day duty and the latter night duty. 

December 19, 1899 — Monday the 18th — Mayor's last meeting. 
He thanked the Council for their uniform courtesy. For the past 
10 years, he had been coming to the Council Chamber every other 
Monday night. He had tried to do his duty. 

Banquet December 27, Wednesday, at Rockville House in 
honor of retiring Mayor Heath who had served for four years. 

Friday, October 19, 1900 — 200 citizens assembled at Turn Hall 
Wednesday to discuss question of revoking the City Charter. 



William H. Loomis was both mayor and dentist, with an office 
on the second floor of the Henry Building. He came to Rockville 
in 1868 and followed the practice of his profession. 

For the first time in the city's politics the Social Democratic 
Party waged an active campaign and polled 227 votes; the regular 
Democrats 270. In his first annual message, he reported the com- 
pletion of the Bath House, "which was opened for use during the 
summer and proved an unqualified success." 

The mayor was not quite satisfied with the city charter. In 


copying from other charters certain errors had crept in which he 
desired to have corrected. His questing imagination and lively pen 
brought results. 

In this same message he stated: "A considerable interest and 
close observation for several years has led me to certain conclu- 
sions on the subject of our roads. We are pursuing "a penny 
wise and pound foolish" method in our present plan of construc- 
tion and repairs, doing the work only to have it speedily undone 
by the first severe storm." He also asked that adequate provision 
be made to take care of the storm water by construction of suffi- 
ciently large culverts. 

March 12, 1902 — A petition asking Council to take necessary 
means to compel Rockville Water & Aqueduct Company to furnish 
pure and wholesome water for domestic purposes. 

On the 20th of March, 1902, the city at special meeting ap- 
propriated $15,000 for the construction of a storm water sewer. 

June 18, 1902 — A petition from the D.A.R. asking that the 
name of Central Park be changed to Winslow Park. The petition 
stated that about 1847 Rev. Horace Winslow, then minister of the 
First Congregational Church, by zealous effort, and assisted by 
other inhabitants in said city, converted the tract of land now 
known as Central Park from a barren waste into a sightly and beau- 
tiful park. The proposed change of name would do honor to the 
minister. The petition was adversely received. 

Captain W. H. Cady reported the number of arrests for 1902, 
130, and suggested the appointment of a captain and three men for 
more efficient police protection: a captain to be on duty during 
the day, two men on night duty, and a third man day and night, 
under certain circumstances. 

Three timely suggestions at the June meeting were — the plac- 
ing of a few settees on Central Park; care of our shade trees; and 
that garbage disposal be provided for by the City, collecting twice 
a week. 


The danger of this new method of transportation is pointed 
out in a clever editorial in the Rockville "Leader" of March 2, 1900 
— "the question of the safety of the people when the electric, gaso- 
linic and kerosenic vehicles shall get to running loose on our 
streets is one worthy of serious consideration. In other cities ex- 


perience proves thev are capable of cutting up about as many 
capers as the bucking broncho or the traditional mule. From six 
to nine miles an hour according to circumstances and places is 
about the legal speed for a horse, but these inanimate roadsters it 
has been found are capable of getting over the ground at the 
rate of twentv miles per hour or even more." 

The evolution of the automobile was slow. It is recorded on 
Augus 5. 1902 — "Christopher Spencer, of Windsor, was in town 
vesterdav with his new automobile. It is built in the form of a 
covered deliverv wagon such as is used bv dry goods stores in 
large cities. It has wooden wheels with solid rubber tires. The 
propelling power is steam generated bv Kerosene burners. The 
boiler is tubular and will stand a pressure of 3,000 pounds to the 
square inch. The safetv valve works at 300 pounds pressure so 
there is no danger of an explosion. The automobile recently made 
the trip from New York to Hartford in one day at an average 
speed of 10 miles an hour." 

A few vears later, Snipsic Lake proved popular to hundreds 
of people to see a Matthewson automobile on the ice. Francis J. 
Regan in his new car took several spins from what is known as the 
"island" up to the Siegel Place. He went at a livelv rate of speed 
and seemed to enjov the sport immensely. Seated with him in the 
automobile was his chauffeur. Four or five bovs were hanging on 
to the rear of the auto. 

Regan was the first man ever to venture on the ice of Snipsic 
Lake in an automobile. To hold the weight of an automobile and 
two men the ice must have been remarkablv thick and solid. 

The first automobile race in America was held on Thanks- 
giving Dav, 1895. from Chicago to Evanston, Illinois, and return. 
The average speed was 5.05 miles per horn- for the 52-mile run. 
One driver in the race had to drop out from sheer exhaustion. 



George Forster had the record for the longest period of service 
as mayor of Rockville, 1904-11 and 1928-1929. Throughout those 
ten vears he was deeply interested in the installation of a sewage 
disposal plant. He started a new system of bookkeeping, aided by 


city clerk Keeney. What a faculty he had of congratulating every 
department of the Council! It adds to our stature to read that in 
1910 the community was thoroughly law-abiding: "The City is 
free from vice and there are few disturbances." You may add to 
the record already mentioned two others — at his inauguration 
Mayor Forster gave the shortest message ever deilvered on such 
an occasion and the briefest report at the close of a term of office. 

1904 — An appropriation of $700 to repair the walk on the mid- 
dle road, the appropriation same as previous year being adopted. 

In his annual message to the Council of 1905 the Mayor recom- 
mended Municipal ownership and favored city control of the light- 
ing plant. Said he: "Public ownership of public utilities has been 
the dream of the people. Macadam roads should be built." 

1906 — Sewage Disposal Plant now finished. 

1907 — Death of Captain Cadv of Police Department an- 
nounced. He was a kind and loyal commander and a true friend 
of Rockville. 


On Sunday, January 13, 1908, the Inter-urban service between 
Rockville and Hartford was inaugurated. It was not the weather 
for angels, and the traffic was rather light. The universal verdict, 
however, appeared to be that the cars ran smoothly and that the 
new method of transportation would be a success. 

The first car to leave the Rockville Depot over the electrified 
steam tracks pulled out at 7 o'clock in the morning in charge of 
Conductor P. T. Beaucar and motorman Edward M. Thrall. Con- 
ductor Whetstone of the Highland Division acted as pilot. George 
Cleveland, of Dobsonville, who boarded the car at Rockville, had 
the honor of being the first passenger. He rode as far as Vernon. 
Mrs. John P. Cameron was the first woman passenger. The fare 
from Rockville to Hartford was 25 cents, paid in five installments. 

Grand concert by Philip Sousa and his Band at the Town Hall 
Thursday afternoon, September 9, 1909. 

Thursday, November 2, 1911 — Mayor Forster spoke of the 
natural advantages of Rockville; its high altitude, bracing air, pure 
water, a healthful city 7 . But it won't always be thus, if such lax 
methods as prevail in some sections of the city are allowed to con- 
tinue. Garbage, if left exposed, is a breeder of disease and a 
menace. There ought to be some svstem of collection and dis- 


posal. He quoted the charter giving Council power. Householders 
could furnish cans in which to deposit garbage. Somebody should 
be employed to cart it away. The Council voted $1,000 for health 

Rockville should have an all-night street lighting service. So- 
cial events; doctors called; persons hastening for a physician; in 
time of fire all would benefit. Let's have all-night and every night 
electric lights. 

Street lighting for streets 1910— $7,300, 80 arc lamps, 55 in- 
candescent lamps burning every night in the year, except moon- 
light nights until 1 a.m. — increase would cost $8,300. Moon doesn't 
alwavs shine when the almanac says so. 

1911 — Common Council of 1911 is now launched. After much 
voting, Orren O. West was elected president of the Council. 

For the post office, the Government wanted the Yost property 
( Jacob Yost ) at corner of Park and School Streets. The Yost prop- 
erty ideal location for a federal building. It is a corner lot, 104 ft. 
front and 160 ft. deep. Yost built up a fine property, laying out 
$17,000. He lived there many years. The property formerly be- 
longed to the Rock and was the Mill Boarding House. It was later 
bought by Dr. Stiles. Mr. Yost acquired it from Dr. Stiles. 

Thursday, July 13, 1911 — Shirtwaist Council sacrificed dignity 
for comfort last Tuesday. 

Rock Mill shut down. Disagreement between owners. About 
200 employees out of work. Closed January 7 to Wednesday, 
March 8, 1911. 



During the mayoralty of Lvman Twining Tingier — 1912-1913 
the Fire Department occupied much of the Council's time. A 
fire destroyed the Fitton Fire Engine Company's House on Pros- 
pect Street, a new engine house was built at a cost of $10,000, and 
a new steam fire engine and equipment had to be purchased. 
For twenty years the need of public playgrounds had been felt 
because of the danger involved through electric cars and motor 
vehicles. Mayor Tingier had the capacity and the inclination to 


think deeply on public affairs, and rendered notable service as 
Lieutenant-Governor of the State. 

March 26, 1912 — The following was approved and accepted 
by the Council — "I, Lyman T. Tingier, mayor of said city, believ- 
ing that the Health Officer of said city should receive an annual 
salary of $125, and that the same is a reasonable compensation, 
therefore do hereby fix and establish said salary at said sum, and 
the same to be paid quarterly, and to commence on the first day 
of April, 1912, all being subject, however, to the approval of the 
common council." 

During the year 1912, there were permanent improvements — 
the new engine house, at a cost of $10,000, the Hale Street wall 
$1,200, and the sludge beds $1,200. The fire which destroyed the 
Fitton Fire Engine Company's house on Prospect Street compelled 
the city to expend about $7,000 in the purchase of a new steam 
fire engine, hose wagon, hose and other supplies. Built on Pros- 
pect Street, it was accomplished on an 8-mill tax and included the 
purchase of a new steam fire engine and other fire fighting equip- 

The City Charter again! The time has come to revise or rad- 
ically amend it. Unsuitable now — there is no need of a council 
of two bodies. 

During Mayor Tingier's administration an ordinance prohibit- 
ing coasting on the streets was repealed, and the regulation of 
coasting placed in hands of the mayor. Should not be allowed on 
streets where coasters cross a trolley track or where there is heavy 

Collection of garbage introduced within certain limits. 

December 15, 1912 — Certain Ellington residents petitioned 
General Assembly to annex a portion of the town of Ellington con- 
tiguous to the city: annex a portion north of the city line as far as 
the Butcher Road and East to the Tolland line. There is a desire 
on the part of the same residents to become a part of this munici- 
pality because of the many improvements of which they are now 
deprived — fire protection and sewer privileges. 

The parcel post business at the Rockville Post Office started 


off briskly on January 1, 1913, date of inauguration. The honor of 
mailing the first parcel fell to Mrs. Fred Siegfried. Total packages 
received 20, considered large as the office was closed in the after- 
noon (New Year's half holiday). Only two packages arrived in 
incoming mails. 

Julius Rath, a man from Missouri walking around the world 
visited Rockville on New Year's Day, 1913. He was selected from 
100 newsboys to walk 500,000 miles around the Globe in 18 years. 
He must neither beg nor borrow but must finish with $1,000 to 
his credit and a dog. He started on his long trip from St. Louis, 
Missouri, in 1897, and when he reached Rockville he had covered 
495,000 miles and had worn out 441 pairs of shoes. He was enter- 
tained at the Rockville House on January 1, 1913. 

July 15, 1913 — A petition presented by Burpee Grand Army 
Post asking the Council to petition the War Department through 
Congressman Mahan for two regulation army artillery guns with 
carriages was on motion of Alderman Grist and accepted. 

September 23, 1913 — The following resolution was presented 
and adopted — "Resolved that the Mayor appoint a committee of 
six which shall include the Mayor and Corporation Counsel and 
four members of the Common Council to confer with the members 
of a committee appointed by the Water and Aqueduct Company 
to ascertain if the Company would sell to the City of Rockville 
their interest in said Company, and at what price." 

December 30, 1913 — The Street Lighting contract for a period 
of three years for all night, every night. Service was presented, 
approved and accepted. 

Mayor Tingier called the attention again of the Council to the 
subject of public playgrounds, urging their support and that of 
the citizens, and asking that an appropriation be made. A public 
spirited citizen has offered to donate a part of the apparatus need- 
ed and by expenditure of about $400 we can begin. We owe the 
oncoming generation this small debt and believe that the sum re- 
quired will be well invested. 

Voted that band concerts be continued. An appropriation of 
$500 was made. The thousands who throng our streets to enjoy 
these entertainments attest their great popularity; they attract hun- 
dreds from outside to our city and are of benefit to our tradesmen. 

It was announced that a flag pole is to be erected in Central 
Park instead of on the Memorial Building. 



191 1-1915 


In the world-shaking year of 1914, S. Tracy Noble, remem- 
bered always as a strong temperance advocate, guided the city af- 
fairs as mayor. He found the Police Department greatly handi- 
capped through the lack of patrolmen. In no uncertain tone of 
voice he declared, "One man during the day and three men dur- 
ing the night cannot properly look after the city." His second an- 
nual message indicates that there was an unusually large number 
of chimney fires, and property owners were urged to exercise more 

February 24, 1914 — Resolved that no policeman or super- 
numerary policeman shall be a member of the Fire Department 
on and after May 1, 1914. 

March 10, 1914 — "Resolved that any extra duty performed by 
any member of the Fire Department by order of the Chief or as- 
sistant chief shall be paid at the following rate — thirty cents per 
hour between six p.m. and six a.m., and twenty cents per hour be- 
tween six a.m. and six p.m." 

May 5, 1914 — A petition of the Baptist Church Societv "to 
raise their church four feet and build cement steps to sidewalk on 
Union Street." This was granted. 

May 20, 1915— Superintendent of Streets, F. R. Rail, asked for 
a second hand automobile promising that if the city would pur- 
chase one he would run it and take care of it without further ex- 
pense to the city. 

June 9, 1915 — A special meeting voted against an appropria- 
tion of $400 for a Ford car. Nobodv spoke against it. but the vote 
was 54 in favor and 74 against it. Rau's horse had played out be- 
cause of so much business and so much territory to cover. His 
salary was $900 a year. Now his enthusiasm was pereeptiblv 
blurred, and the question was dropped. 

The committee appointed by a former administration to frame 
a revision of our Charter for submission to our people, procured 
copies of revised charters from different cities, east and west, from 
which a charter was drawn, not entirely satisfactory to all the mem- 
bers, yet all agreed it was better adapted to our eitv than the one 
we were working under, and presented it for consideration at a 


special city meeting. There were so many opinions regarding its 
several features that the Committee, having no desire to force a 
charter not acceptable to the public, dropped the matter, excep- 
ting that portion relating to sidewalks, which seemed to meet with 
approval, whereby the city at a special meeting warned for the 
purpose could vote to pay one-third the expense of sidewalks, the 
abutter to pay two-thirds. This was passed by the legislature, 
signed by the Government, and is now a part of our Charter. 

The Home Rule Bill passed by the Legislature giving enlarged 
powers to a city was read. 

1915 — The Chamber of Commerce and the Rockville-Willi- 
mantic Lighting Company have made a generous proposition to 
the city in offering to furnish and install a row of lights in the 
center of the city, the city to pay for the lighting only. This will 
add to the beauty of the center of the city, and we are grateful. 



At the beginning of his administration, Mayor John P. Cam- 
eron (1916-1920) smilingly announced the facts: "For the first 
time in five years our income has exceeded our disbursements. We 
have $1,719.61 on hand, in spite of the fact that we have had two 
of the most disastrous storms in the history of the city, causing 
many washouts." He expressed gratitude to the Chamber of Com- 
merce for their part in the installation of new lights around Central 
Park and on Middle Road. 

He found pleasure in announcing the gift of a tract of land 
on Fox Hill for a park or playground purposes. 

We are reminded of the First World War experiences when 
we read that in 1918 the city faced the problems of material and 
labor shortages. Said Mayor Cameron: "It has been next to im- 
possible to get oil, being necessary to get priority orders from the 

And memory is stirred when one reads of the fearful epi- 
demic of influenza keenly felt in Rockville at that time. 

Thursday, October 10, 1918 — Rockville High School building 
is now taken over by a Citizens' Committee and transformed into 
an emergency hosiptal for the care of the hundreds of persons ill 


with Spanish influenza. In less than 24 hours after the plan was 
decided, a score of patients were there. Pneumonia cases were 
given fresh air treatment. The Committee secured a large army 
tent and it was erected on Talcott Park. The large lawn at the 
rear of Dr. Rockwell's property was offered and accepted. 

October 31, 1918 — Hospital closed doors at Rockville High 
School Tuesday, 157 patients entered during three weeks of epi- 
demic, there were 23 deaths. Dr. W. B. Bean came to counsel. 

The Public Works Committee was authorized on September 
19, 1916, to engage the services of an Engineer, with a view to as- 
certaining the amount of sidewalks, curbing and gutters on each 
street of the city that required to be put in good condition, and to 
enable the Committee to make an intelligent report when the side- 
walk question should come up for definite action. 

On January 3, 1917, a Petition to increase the Public Works 
employees from 24c to 30c per hour was not granted. 

Friday evening, April 20, 1917, it was voted to appropriate 
the sum of $15,000 for new sidewalks, curbing and gutters. 

May 2, 1917, it was voted to lay sidewalks, curbing and gut- 
ters on the following streets: 

West Main Street, north side 1658 lineal feet 
West Main Street, south side 303 

Brooklyn Street, north side 390 " 

Vernon Avenue, west side 80 " 

West Street, east side 605 

Union Street, south side 2540 " 

Union Street, north side 1270 

Prospect Street, north side 2685 

East Main Street, south side 1655 
Orchard Street, west side 300 " 

Contractor National Concrete Company of New Haven, Con- 
necticut. Work completed in the Fall of 1918. 

Sidewalks, curbing and gutters costs, August 1, 1918, total cost 
$5,431.70. Cost to City $2,092.30. Cost to Abutters $3,339.40. 

The entire cost of installing sidewalks, curbing and gutters 
abutting the several local factory properties was through the ef- 
forts of Colonel Francis Regan paid by the factory owners. 

January 28, 1919, Mayor Cameron announced the appointment 
of the following Memorial Tree Committee: Col. Francis J. Regan, 
A. Leroy Martin, Horace A. Deal, Alderman Elmer F. Osborne and 
the City Clerk, John N. Keeney. 


George B. Milne became Chief Fire Commissioner. 

May 3, 1919 — Welcome Home Celebration and planting of 
Gingko trees at Maple Street School grounds. Governor Holcomb 

At 12 o'clock midnight Thursday, January 15, 1920, poor John 
Barleycorn was interred by the Government of the United States, 
although there are many mourners. No bells, no flowers, just plain 
water hereafter. During the summer there are more on the water 
wagon than there are wagons to take care of them. 

Thursday, May 4, 1920 — Thinking of remodelling the Gaynoi 
property on Prospect Street for a hospital, a wooden building some 
80 years old. Some people are for the Henry site; doctors favor it. 

March 5, 1920, brought a great blizzard. 

March 25, 1920 — There was a wild celebration when the "lost 
child" returned after seven weeks' absence. Suspended traffic due 
to storm, which started last Tuesday. A force of men employed 
by the trolley company supplemented by 100 men and boys from 
Broad Brook and Ellington helped in re-opening roads. 



Quite a little excitement was aroused when in the city election 
of 1920 the vote was so close as to call for a recount. The candi- 
dates were John P. Cameron and Frederick Hartenstein. 

Attorney Thomas F. Noone represented Mr. Frederick G. 
Hartenstein and Attorney Charles Phelps represented Mr. John P. 
Cameron in the breath-taking court proceedings. The sealed bal- 
lot boxes from each of the four wards were placed in the custody 
of the city clerk, John N. Keeney, by the court, who appointed the 
following counters to re-examine the protested votes: Parley B. 
Leonard, William A. Kuhnly, Frederick J. Cooley, John N. Keeney. 
It was the first and only recount in the city's history. 

The original count had given Hartenstein 644 and Cameron 
643. The recount changed the figures to Hartenstein 628, and 
Cameron 624. Consequently, Judge Maltbie declared the person 
of Frederick G. Hartenstein "the rightful elected Mayor of the City 
of Rockville." For two years (1920-1922) Mayor Hartenstein ren- 
dered efficient and friendly service. 


It was the first election at which women voted throughout the 
entire United States and the one in which Harding was elected 
President. The 19th Amendment to the Constitution was declared 
in effect on August 26, 1920. 

Council approved of Daylight Saving Time, April, 1921. 

Princess Theater opened in November, 1922, in Turn Hall, on 
Village Street. 



Next came Joseph Grist as Mayor, 1922-23. A highly respected 
citizen, it was his task to direct through the Council plans for the 
development of Fox Hill, bequeathed to the city by the will of E. 
Stevens Henry for a park. 

Special City Meeting March 18, 1922— It was decided that 
any voter in the town of Vernon be allowed to be heard. 

March 31, 1922 — A tract of land located on Fox Hill has been 
given as a park and pleasure grounds or as sites for strictly public 
buildings and grounds connected with the city and with it $25,000 
for improving the said lands. 

April 4, 1922 — On motion of Councilman Neff, it was voted 
that the City Council go on record as being in favor of Daylight 
Saving Time. 

At a town meeting on Wednesday, April 5, 1922, it was voted 
not to discontinue the Interurban service. This was a surprise vote. 
An accident just previous to the meeting involving trolley cars 
seemed to provide a strong reason for retaining the second line of 
communication. So in spite of much feeling that the Interurban 
was not a paying proposition the town voted to continue that serv- 

May 31, 1922 — Two-thirds vote of all members of the Common 
Council, present and absent, decided that the City of Rockville 
appropriate the sum of $2,000 for playground equipment and phys- 
ical instructors for the year 1922. 

June 12, 1922 — On motion of Councilman Kuhnly it was voted 
that the Common Council go on record as in favor of Sunday Base- 
ball, and that the matter be taken up with Corporation Counsel to 
see if same can be allowed. 


October 31, 1922— Voted that the City Clerk pay $998.00 to 
the treasurer of the Armistice Day Celebration Committee. 

November 14, 1922 — It was voted that the amounts appropri- 
ated for the Fourth of July celebration and the Armistice Day cele- 
bration be combined into a fund to be used as a permanent me- 
morial for World War veterans, if these amounts were not desired 
for the purposes for which they were appropriated. 

December 6, 1922 — The petition of the manager of the Prin- 
cess Theater asking permission to exhibit moving pictures on Sun- 
day evenings from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. was granted. 

1923 — The Mayor commended the work of the schools, the of- 
fice of Meat and Milk Inspector, the Lighting Committee for chang- 
ing and improving the lighting system of the city, the satisfactory 
police department and the Fox Hill Park project. 

The winter had a record for continuity of snow storms which 
began on November 28 and ended March 31, in a total of 34 



John P. Cameron returned to the Mayor's chair in 1924 and 
remained until 1928, thus serving the city in this capacity for a 
total of eight years. Improvements in the Fire Department, the 
installation of a siren in the center of the city, new traffic signals 
"so that speeding through the center may be reduced to a mini- 
mum," and a civic center of which Rockville may well be proud 
were among the accomplishments of this administration. 

1924 — With the closing of our city year of 1924, we find the 
finances in an extremely fine condition with a balance of cash on 
hand of $16,120.42. 

Fox Hill Park has been completed so far as the money Mr. 
Henry gave the city will go. The committee has transformed this 
hill into one of the beauty spots of our State. There is still much 
to be done, and it is hoped that citizens will be liberal in appro- 
priations for Park purposes. This park can be made self-support- 
ing by the spending of but a little more money. 


Mayor Cameron has faithfully served the city as — 

Mayor 8 yrs 

City Treasurer 1914-1915 2 " 

City Assessor 2 " 

City Auditor 2 " 

14 years total 



For a term of two years (1928-1930) George Forster took up 
again the duties of the office of mayor. He had served as town 
tax collector and city treasurer, and through these experiences, he 
had adopted economy as his watchword. His advice was "all frills 
and innovations requiring the use of funds raised by taxation should 
be frowned upon." Closer scrutiny and rigid pruning of the city's 
budget must be resorted to if their citizens are to encourage addi- 
tions to local industrial enterprises as well as by new ventures lo- 
cating in this city. 

During Mayor Forster's administration, he was surrounded by 
a City Council Staff composed of the leading citizens of the com- 
munity, including David A. Sykes, George W. Hill, James A. El- 
liott, David Horgan, George Scheets, Orren C. West, John Herzog, 
S. Tracy Noble, Joseph Prichard, Alfred H. Hobro, City Treasurer 
Frank Farrenkopf and City Clerk John N. Keeney. 

George Forster, after having served the City of Rockville as 
Mayor for 10 years was appointed Postmaster of Rockville, and 
later was elected for a term of four years as High Sheriff of Tol- 
land County. 

In 1928 work started in dismantling the trolley line between 
Rockville and Stafford Springs. The road was built at a cost of 
$1,000,000. It was abandoned because it no longer paid. 



The first important action of the new mayor, Albert E. Waite, 
was to appoint a Tercentennial Committee, and plans developed 


into a celebration worthy of Rockville. The mayor had served for 
years on the Common Council and had been trained in the city's 
leading manufacturing plant, and these avenues of work made him 
competent in his high office. The contest for the mayoralty was 
very close. He won by 47 votes. Albert E. Waite, a man of ver- 
satile talents, started to work at the age of 13, as an office boy in 
the New England Mill, and became very proficient in bookkeep- 
ing, accounting, etc. He served the Hockanum Mills faithfully for 
51 years. 

1930 — The city has received gifts of three pieces of land from 
the Hockanum Mills Company, Mr. F. W. Swindells and the Stand- 
ard Oil Company, permitting the improvement of three dangerous 

Among the improvements to the City has been the removal 
of the Lunch Cart from Main Street, 30 poles from various streets 
and the construction of a better athletic field at Henry Park. 

1931 — Removal of l 1 /^ miles of trolley tracks, ties, overhead 
wires and 76 poles from Windsor Avenue, West Street, Union, 
Park, School, Prospect, Main, Grove and Hale Streets has not only 
made our streets safer and our roads better but more sightly. 

Another gift of land from the Hockanum Mills Company has 
made possible a greatly improved entrance to the New Springville 
Bridge at Spring Street. 

1932 — When in May it was found our income from State Cor- 
poration Tax was $5,959.03 instead of $31,000, the average of seven 
years previous, our various departmental committees met in June 
and cut the voted appropriations $20,000. This and further reduc- 
tions in expenditures resulted in $89,928.06 spent instead of $116,- 
417.50 voted, leaving an unspent balance of $26,489.44. 

The Police Department suffered a loss when in September, 
1932, Captain Stephen J. Tobin suddenly died — an officer of fine 
training and experience, as well as a man respected throughout 
our community. Officer Shea was appointed to succeed him. 

Lighting Company gave a real service by increasing candle 
power equal to approximately 30% at no extra cost, as a result of 
conferences and agreements between our Lighting Committee and 
officers of Lighting Company. 

On May 1, 1931, the sum of $15,000 was voted at the city meet- 
ing for the improved entrance to the city at the foot of Union Street. 

The last trolley out on Sunday night, April 26, ended that kind 


of transportation, and the Hartford and Rockville trolley service 
is now only a memory to the people of Rockville, and the trolley 
tracks are being removed. 

On Monday, April 27, 1931, the new bus service between 
Rockville and Hartford went into effect. The running time be- 
tween these two cities from the center of Rockville is 55 minutes 
instead of more than one hour as previously with the trolley service. 

Until the new Hartford-Rockville State Highway is completed, 
the bus route will go over the regular trolley route to the center, 
proceed down Union Street to West Street, over West Street to 
West Main Street, back up West Main Street to Vernon Avenue 
and out Vernon Avenue through Vernon Center to Talcottville 
and then along the regular route to Hartford. 



The net indebtedness of Rockville at the close of the fiscal 
year November 15, 1935, is $20,709.95. During Mayor Sheets' ad- 
ministration it was reduced $28,000. 

When Scheets took office in 1934 the City's indebtedness was 
$41,368.17, in addition owed state $7,500 toward the cost of im- 
proving the entrance to Union Street which total bill was originally 
$15,000— a total indebtedness of $48,868.17. 

Steered a steady course. 

In 1920 City's indebtedness $139,069.48 

1925 117,115.74 

1930 86,693.46 

1935 20,709.95 

Rockville and Vernon opened its three-day celebration of the 

Connecticut Tercentenary, Thursday morning, September 12, 1935, 

when the library opened its exhibit of articles of historic interest. 

Streets were beautifully decorated, business houses and homes were 

arranged with flags and bunting. 

Thursday — Historic Exhibit at Public Library 

Colonial and Military Ball at Town Hall 
Friday — 3:00 p.m. Tercentenary Pageant at Sykes' Auditorium 

3:00 Program at East School. Overflow from Pageant 

1:00 p.m. Flower Show opens at Fitch Block 
8:00 p.m. Public Exercises at Sykes' Auditorium 
Saturday — 9:30 p.m. Sports in center of city 
2:00 p.m. Mammoth Parade 
3:30 p.m. Drum Corps Contest in Center of City 


Three hundred years of progress in the Constitution of the 
State September 12, 13, 14, 1935. Founding of Hartford— 1636. 

George C. Scheets watched every expenditure and had the 
faculty of speaking plainly on matters of interest to the community. 
He kept his hand on the wheel during his administration. He 
made a thorough study of the charter. A reporter of a local paper 
listening to George Scheets' message at the annual meeting in 1934 
was surprised to find that in the delivery of that message he glanced 
only once or twice at his prepared address. 

1934 — A garage was built on city lot on West Street to store 
the Road Roller, Sweeper and other city property. The amount 
being spent for rent for this purpose at the present time will pay 
for the garage in a few years. 

1935 — A large number of men whose wages were paid by the 
Federal Emergency Relief Administration have been employed in 
grading South Street, Grant Street, the filtration plant, and Henry 
Park. When this Park project is completed, there will be plenty 
of room for tennis courts, and any outdoor sports that may be 

By using F.E.R.A. and W.P.A. labor and finding projects to 
employ them on, we are putting unemployed men to work, and 
keeping them off the Town Relief. 

Mayor Scheets became First Selectman of the Town of Vernon 
in 1938. 



The most important event in the period of this administration 
was the erection and later the dedication of the War Memorial 
Tower on Fox Hill, made possible by the Fund appropriated by 
the City and Town, donations by a few public-spirited citizens, and 
an allotment by the Government as a WPA project. The city ap- 
propriated $7,978.52 toward the Memorial, dedicated on August 5, 

Monday, January 6, 1936 — Ex-Mayor Scheets administered the 
oath of office to Claude A. Mills. 

May 19, 1936 — Be it ordained by the Court of Common Coun- 


Any person who shall knowingly make a false complaint to 
the Police Department or any member thereof, and anv person who 
shall give any false information with intent to deceive the officers 
of said department when making any complaint shall be fined not 
more than 25 dollars. 

June 2, 1936 — Voted that the Public Works Committee be au- 
thorized to have a bine spruce tree moved from the estate of Fran- 
cis T. Maxwell to Central Park at a cost of $75. 

September 8, 1936 — Committee appointed to draft suitable 
resolutions on the death of Police Captain Richard Shea, August 26 
— a man of sound judgment. 

November 13, 1936 — Voted that the city sponsor the proposed 
War Memorial project. 

October 19, 1937 — An ordinance concerning motion pictures 
and theatrical entertainments, such as are authorized and permitted 
on Sundays between the hours of 2 p.m. and 11 p.m. provided the 
sale of admission shall not exceed the regular afternoon and eve- 
ning rates. 

November 2, 1937 — A delegation from the American Legion 
spoke in favor of establishing skating rinks in the city. 

December 21, 1937 — The Mayor appointed a Committee to 
draw up appropriate resolutions on the death of ex-Mavor A. E. 

February 8, 1938 — Nineteen regulations were adopted to gov- 
ern the board of aldermen. 

May 3, 1938 — Ordinances regulating Peddlers, Itinerant Ven- 
dors and Junk Dealers were passed. 

The year 1938 was a year of granted liquor licenses. 

November 1, 1938— Voted that all lights around Central Park 
be lighted all night at an additional cost of $33 per year. Appro- 
priate resolutions were passed on the departure of Parley B. Leon- 
ard, city official, first city clerk, eighteen years city treasurer, and 
in later years a citizen ready to help. 

November 5, 1938 — Voted the sum of $385 for American Band 

August 8, 1939 — Voted that a committee of three confer with 
the Board of Selectmen to make arrangements for the care of the 
new Memorial Tower on Fox Hill. 

August 22, 1939 — Voted that the Ordinance Committee be au- 
thorized to draft an ordinance regarding the playing of "bingo." 


the term to be defined. The restrictions comprised thirteen sec- 

January 16, 1940 — Voted that Arthur Satryb be given permis- 
sion to operate a roller skating rink at 6 Vernon Avenue on Sundays 
between the hours of two and five o'clock in the afternoon and 
between the hours of eight and ten in the evening. 

July 16, 1940 — "His Excellency the President of the United 
States and the Congress of the United States have both declared 
that our defense forces and their equipment are insufficient and in- 
adequate to properly protect or defend our nation in these days of 
swift and shocking development which has forced every neutral 
nation in this uneasy world to look to its defense in the light of new 

Resolved that this honorable City Council of the City of Rock- 
ville in the State of Connecticut heartily commends and fully en- 
dorses the proposed new program and defense policy of the Presi- 
dent, and sincerely urges all citizens of our city to encourage and 
support the President and his military and naval officials in their 
efforts to make our defenses invulnerable and our security absolute. 

Further resolved that this resolution be given the proper pub- 
licity so that all unmarried male citizens between the ages of 18 
and 35 may know that the Regular Army of the United States de- 
sires to fill existing vacancies to full peace time strength. We en- 
dorse the National Defense Program." 

September 10, 1940 — Mayor Mills announced that a public- 
spirited citizen had offered to have the trees on Fox Hill Park 
trimmed so that the tower could be seen from the center of the 
city at no cost to the city. Voted the offer be accepted with thanks. 

November 5, 1940 — An amendment to the ordinance concern- 
ing Police and Police Departments: The Police Department shall 
consist of one Chief of Police (being the mayor), one Captain, 
one Sergeant, and not less than two or more than ten supernumerary 

December 3, 1940 — The Mayor was authorized to receive and 
accept on behalf of the city a gift of $10,000 offered bv one of its 
citizens to be used in the sound discretion of the citv in the de- 
velopment of a so-called Recreation Center. The Council ex- 
pressed itself as justly proud of the donor's interest in the com- 
munity and of his high qualities of character as a citizen, his phil- 
anthropy and friendship. 


February 11, 1941 — Voted it shall be unlawful within the city 
limits without a written permit issued and signed by the Mayor for 
any person to use or discharge any sling shot, air rifle, BB Gun or 
similar device. Any person violating shall be deemed guilty of a 
misdemeanor and fined not more than $25 for each offense. 

It shall be unlawful within the limits of the city of Rockville 
to use mechanical loud speakers or amplifiers on trucks or other 
moving vehicles for advertising or other purposes without a specific 
license therefore from the Chief of Police of said city. 

August 12, 1941 — Voted that the sum of $400 be expended from 
the contingency appropriation before the close of the present fiscal 
year for the rental of voting machines. 

August 26, 1941 — An ordinance to prevent the using of radio 
receiving sets or other devices for the producing or reproduction 
of sound so as to cause unnecessary and harmful noise. The ordi- 
nance consisted of three sections. 

Voted that the Public Works Committee be authorized to at- 
tend to the numbering of houses on the new streets on which mail 
delivery service has been promised. 

The Mayor in his valedictory message of 1941 expressed regret 
for the resignation from office of Fire Chief George B. Milne. His 
continuous and loyal service for a period of 25 years is equaled 
only by his courage and devotion to duty. 

May, 1942 — Francis T. Maxwell gave $25,000 as a sinking fund, 
for the purpose of providing or improving athletic facilities at Fox 
Hill Park and for planting trees and shrubs. 



Mayor Raymond E. Hunt, elected on December 2, 1941, lis- 
tened to the story over the radio of the dastardly attack on Pearl 
Harbor five days later. A lover of the city that looms, reticent and 
reliable, he was mayor during World War II. As soon as he took 
office he announced that the late Colonel Francis T. Maxwell had 
bequeathed the sum of $25,000 to be used for the payment of 
bonds of the city of Rockville, which enabled the city to wipe out 
completely its bonded indebtedness. 

Through the years of the war Mayor Hunt spoke words of 


cheer to the hundreds of boys who have left the Town of Vernon 
to serve the armed forces of the country. Under his guidance, 
the newly appointed Recreation and Civic Center Committee is 
functioning diligently. 

Mayor Hunt served the city for 26 years, first as city clerk and 
for the past six years as Mayor. The only times he was absent 
were during his vacations. 

Taking office in January, 1942, about a month after Pearl Har- 
bor, he has been Rockville's "War Mayor." In cooperation with 
town officials, his duty was to see that civilian defense measures 
were adopted and carried out so that Rockville would be protected 
in case of an emergency. He was always present as each group 
left for the armed services, and on hand to greet those men when 
they returned. The war postponed many projects. 

March 9, 1943 — Moved that the Dedication of the Town of 
Vernon Honor Roll held on Sunday, March 7, 1943, be officially 
recorded in the minutes of this Council Meeting, at which Dedica- 
tion Exercises the Court of Common Council was well represented. 

April 20, 1943 — "Resolved that the City Treasurer be and 
he is hereby authorized to deposit in the Savings Bank of Rock- 
ville the sum of $6,000 to be known as the Francis T. Maxwell 
Fund for the payment of bonds of the City of Rockville falling due 
in future years; and that he be further authorized to deposit in the 
People's Savings Bank of Rockville the sum of $6,000 to be known 
as the Francis T. Maxwell Fund for the payment of bonds of the 
City of Rockville falling due in future years; and that the City 
Treasurer be further authorized to purchase for the City of Rock- 
ville Government Bonds in the amount of $13,000, the same to be 
a part of the Francis T. Maxwell Fund for the payment of bonds 
of the City of Rockville falling due in future years. These amounts 
constitute the bequest of $25,000 by the late Francis T. Maxwell. 

Resolved that the City Treasurer be and he is hereby author- 
ized to deposit in the Savings Bank of Rockville the sum of $5,000 
to be known as the Francis T. Maxwell Fund for providing or im- 
proving Fox Hill Park; and that the City Treasurer be further au- 
thorized to purchase for the City of Rockville government bonds 
in the amount of $30,000 the same to be part of the Francis T. 
Maxwell Fund for providing and improving Fox Hill Park." 

June 29, 1943 — Mayor Hunt announced the appointment of a 
committee of five to study and revise the City Charter. 

Voted to grade the Recreation Field. 


August 10, 1943 — Voted to permit the American Legion to 
erect crosses in Central Park in memory of those who have lost 
their lives in the present War, the same to remain for the duration. 

August 24, 1943 — Invitation accepted to attend the State Police 
Demonstration Tuesday the 31st at the Recreation and Civic Cen- 
ter Grounds. 

February 29, 1944— The will of John E. Fisk, late of the Town 
of Vernon, contains the following bequest: 

Two-tenths of his estate thereof to the City of Rock- 
ville, Connecticut, absolutely and forever, but it is my 
wish that all money and funds to be received by said city 
hereunder shall be set apart as a separate fund and in- 
vested and reinvested until the principal and interest shall 
amount to at least thirty thousand dollars and that there- 
upon said funds shall be expended by the City for the 
erection within the limits of said City of a fountain, tower 
or lookout or other structure of a permanent nature for 
public use; that the structure when erected shall be known 
as the "Lottie Memorial." 

Probate notice accepted and placed on file. 


In March, 1900, John Everett Fisk was elected corporation 
counsel, a rising young lawyer of Tolland County, being a native 
of Stafford, where he was born February 19, 1869. He was edu- 
cated at the Stafford High School. He studied law in the office 
of State's Attorney Joel H. Reed, of Stafford Springs, and was ad- 
mitted to the Bar in 1891. He immediately opened an office in the 
Henry Building. 

Mr. Fisk was judge for 37 years. He was the first in the Henry 
Building to have a telephone, and as there were only 32 other 
phones in Rockville at that time, his number was 33, which he re- 
tained for many years. He opened his office in September, 1891; 
he was City Attorney 1900 to 1934, and was appointed Judge of 
City Court in 1902. On his retirement after 37 years of service, he 
was presented with an inscribed bronze plaque by court officials. 

April 11, 1944 — Voted $345.60 for erection of fence around 
three sides of the Recreation Field approximately 945 feet. Con- 
tract awarded Emil T. Hallcher. 


June 6, 1944 — At a point in the meeting the members of the 
Council with bowed heads offered a silent prayer for the success 
of the United Nations in the European West Coast Invasion which 
started Tuesday, June 6, 1944. 

On Julv 6, 1944, Rockville along with many other communities 
suffered a heavy loss in the fire that destroved the tents of the 
Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus in Hartford, and in 
which 162 persons lost their lives. Rockville lost five people in this 
disaster, Miss Marjorie Metcalf, Mrs. Dorothv Kuhnly and daughter 
Georgianna, Mrs. Irene North and daughter Irene. 

January 16, 1945 — Voted that the Committee appointed by 
the Mayor to draft suitable resolutions to be presented to the fam- 
ily and relatives of those who sacrificed their lives in World War II 
be authorized to purchase 100 copies of said resolutions. 

Special Meeting on Tuesday, April 15, 1945: 

"Whereas the Almighty Ruler of the Universe has 
taken from our - ranks almost in the very hour of victory our 
great and gallant President and Commander-in-Chief and 

Whereas our Nation and the United Nations have 
suffered an irreparable and heart-rending loss by his un- 
timely death, and whereas in that dark hour when evil 
forces threatened to destroy our country, his indomitable 
courage and fearless leadership inspired us to fight with 
greater hope and courage, and 

Whereas his sudden, tragic death will be felt through- 
out the world by hundreds of millions of people to whom 
he symbolized freedom, democracy, humane tolerance and 
world peace 

Therefore be it resolved that this Court of Common 
Council, in behalf of the City of Rockville does hereby 
formally give expression to its feeling for the irreparable 
loss the country and the world suffers in the death of our 
great President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, that a minute 
of this Resolution be spread upon the Records of the Coun- 
cil and that a copy be transmitted to his family, by the 
City Clerk, suitably signed and sealed as a feeble though 
sincere expression of our profound sorrow and deep sym- 
pathy in the hour of their and our bereavement." 


May 1, 1945 — Members of the City Council and others pres- 
ent stood in silent prayer and thanksgiving for the Allied Victory 
in Europe and for the success of the Allied Armies in the War in 
the Pacific against Japan. 

Mayor Hunt read this Proclamation: 

"Whereas the Allied Armies after five long years of cease- 
less fighting to obtain a world peace have won from Germany 
a final and unconditional surrender, and 

Whereas Harry S. Truman, President of the United States 
of America has designated Sunday, May 13, 1945, to be a day 
of prayer and thanksgiving 

Now, therefore, I, Raymond E. Hunt, mayor of the City 
of Rockville, do call upon the citizens of our city, whatever their 
faith to unite on this day in offering thanks to God for the 
victory we have won, and to pray for the continued success of 
of the United States and our Allies to bring to a speedy and 
victorious conclusion the fight against the remaining enemy in 
the Pacific." 

May 8, 1945 — The American Legion requested the donation 
of the Observation Post "hut" now standing in Henry Park, the 
Post to remove the same at its own cost and expense, without lia- 
bility of any kind to the city. Request granted. 

July 17, 1945 — Request granted to the West End for per- 
mission to erect an Honor Roll between Union Street and Wind- 
sor Avenue. 

October 28, 1946 — "Welcome Home" Day Committee invited 
all officials of the City of Rockville to witness the "Welcome Home" 
Day Parade. 

Mayor Hunt in his annual report for the year ending Novem- 
ber 15, 1947, mentioned the excellent financial condition, the sub- 
jects taken up for consideration during the year — Zoning, Building 
Code, and the Revision of the City Charter, and concluded — "In 
closing my official term as Mayor, and after 26 years in connection 
with our Common Council, 20 years as the clerk, I desire to extend 
my sincere thanks." 

Mayor Hunt informed the Council that the body of Robert 
Underwood, the first World War II casualty from Rockville, will 
arrive in the city on Monday, November 17. The mayor had or- 
dered the flag on the municipal flagpole to be flown half-mast on 
Monday and Tuesday until 2 o'clock, the hour of the funeral. 

December 16, 1947 — Salaries of members of the Citv Police 
Department for each day's service: Captain $8.95; Sergeant $8.30; 


Patrolman $8.00; Supernumerary $7.10; no allowance for extra time 
during the same day of 24 hours. 

Vacations: All members of the Police Department who have 
served not less than five years in the department shall be granted 
and shall receive a vacation not to exceed 14 days during any 
fiscal year and said vacation shall be granted with pay to all mem- 
bers of the department who have served in said department. 



On Monday, January 5, 1948, the oath of office was admin- 
istered to the mayor-elect Frederick S. Berger by Raymond Hunt, 
after Mr. Berger had resigned as alderman of the third ward. 

January 27, 1948 — Decided to purchase a snow loader at a 
sum not to exceed $8,000. 

Tuesday, March 9, 1948 — Alderman Harry Ertel stated that 
the condition of the fence around the Recreation Field is a disgrace 
to the city, and he wondered who was responsible for its care. It 
had been deeded to the city, and the High School boys were ready 
to repair it. The matter was referred to the Public Works Com- 

Tuesday, June 1, 1948 — Repair work on Tower on Fox Hill 
has been completed, and after three weeks no windows have been 
broken. The mayor complimented the Public Works Commission. 
Alderman Ertel reported that the Tower may be opened two days a 
week with police protection. 

Judge Charles Underwood, chairman of the Safety Commit- 
tee, presented to Mayor Berger the certificate from Governor Shan- 
non awarded to the committees in Connecticut, includine; Rockville, 
as a result of not having had a traffic fatality in 1947. It was sug- 
gested that the certificate be hung in Police Court Room and shown 
to violators of the Motor Vehicle Laws. 

July 29, 1948 — Reported that Al Foster had applied two coats 
of paint to the Flagpole at the Fox Hill Tower at no charge to the 
City, and was to be commended for his generosity. 

August 24, 1948 — A five-member Economy Committee was ap- 
pointed to study the local tax structure and make recommendations 
for greater efficiency and a more stable tax rate. Appointed were: 


John McCormick, Wm. Dunlap, Robert Murphy, Kenneth Smith, 
Winfred Kloter. 

November 4, 1948 — Sample copies of the revised charter were 
distributed at the meeting, and the Finance Committee was em- 
powered to get bids for printing. 

December 7, 1948 — Every person who shall place or deposit 
or cause to be placed or deposited upon any street, sidewalk, gut- 
ter, or park in the city of Rockville any store sweepings, loose 
papers, dirt, ashes, rubbish, snow, ice or refuse of any kind shall 
be fined in a sum not exceeding fifty dollars. Effective Decem- 
ber 18, 1948. 

Voted to install bleacher seats for Henry Park, providing 960 
seats, at a cost of $3,552. Also voted to spend $1,250 for a new 
baseball diamond at Henry Park, the money for both of these proj- 
ects to come from the Maxwell Fund. 

January 18, 1949 — Alderman Ertel reported more vandalism 
at the Fox Hill Tower and told that the Public Works Commission 
intends to replace the windows with steel plates which will not mar 
the beauty of the tower. 

March 8, 1949 — Alderman Bouchard reported that the Fire 
Committee held a meeting in regard to selling the city's old steam 
fire engine as there is no longer any use for it. There has been an 
offer of $75 for it, but the Fire Committee wishes to offer it to the 
people of Rockville before selling it to an outsider. 

March 15, 1949 — The next meeting — It was voted that the Old 
Steam Engine be kept by the Fire Committee until a veterans' fire 
association, which is being formed, receives its charter. If it does 
not receive a charter, the engine would be given to the Historical 

August 2, 1949 — Alderman Flaherty called attention to the 
noise and disturbances which motorcycles have been making in the 
city and wished to mention it at a Council meeting so that publicity 
could be given to the matter and cause motorcyclists to be more 

August 30, 1949 — Alderman Bouchard reported that the Vet- 
eran Firemen's Association has received its charter and by-laws 
and is now ready to take over the ownership and care of the Old 
Steamer Fire Engine. The mayor asked the Corporation Counsel 
to draw up a resolution providing for the transfer of the engine 
from the city to the Firemen's Organization. 


December 7, 1949 — Resolved that the City of Rockville shall 
lease to the State of Connecticut, the "Peerless Silk Mill Building," 
so-called, for a period of two years for the yearly rental of $1800, 
for a State Armory. 

April 24, 1950 — Alderman Ertel asked to have read to the 
Council a paper dealing with the "Requirements for Installation 
of all Radio or Television Antennas." It was voted that Rockville 
adopt the suggested requirements. 

Alderman Rohan asked the Council to go on record to sup- 
port the Recruiting Drive of the local Red Cross Blood Bank. 
Rockville's quota is to be 600 pints of blood for the year. The date 
for the first visit of the Bloodmobile will be announced later. 

September 10, 1951 — Alderman Rohan recommended that the 
City of Rockville approve Social Security coverage for its full-time 
employees in the Public Works, Police, and Health Departments. 

September 24, 1951 — Alderman Kernan reported that the Po- 
lice Department, for safety measures, is sending a traffic officer to 
Maple Street School where 100 extra pupils are enrolled until com- 
pletion of the new Vernon School. 

October 8, 1951 — Alderman Kernan stated that the Health 
Committee has been considering a fluoridation program for Rock- 
ville to prevent tooth decay. Dr. Gessay (dentist) was invited to 
speak at the meeting. 

November 14, 1951 — Voted that the city treasurer be empow- 
ered to draw a check for $2,000 to Rockville Public Health Nurs- 
ing Association. 

January 31, 1952 — The Council observed a moment of silent 
tribute in memory of a deceased city official, Saul L. Peizer. 

The Building Inspector's report was presented by Roland 
Usher at regular intervals. 

March 5, 1952 — Alderman Ertel reported that because of over- 
head electric and telephone wires and low hanging tree limbs on 
the south side of Union Street, the Public Works Department could 
not use the snow loader to remove snow. 

April 2, 1952 — Resignation of Fire Chief William Flaherty was 
accepted with regret. The Mayor complimented Flaherty on his 
38 years of service to the Community. Edward Friedrich was 
unanimously elected as his successor. 

Hearing, April 30, 1952— Voted that the Public Works Com- 


mittee be named as the Committee to lay out a highway extend- 
ing Fox Street to meet a proposed street known as Fox Hill Drive 
in accordance with the provisions of the city charter. 

May 14, 1952 — Voted that the Ordinance Committee be em- 
powered to draw up ordinance to change name of Fox Street to 
Fox Hill Drive. 


May 30, 1949 


At the official opening of the new baseball diamond at Henry 
Park Sunday afternoon, when Rockville Moriarty's team played the 
Southington Sotons, Mayor Frederick S. Berger, who threw the 
first ball, paid tribute to all those who have made the park, with 
its sports field, possible. 

Mayor Berger spoke as follows: "This being Memorial Day 
week-end, I believe that this is an appropriate time to pay honor 
to the two men who, through their generosity, have made this 
beautiful park possible, the Honorable E. Stevens Henry and Colo- 
nel Francis T. Maxwell. Let us pay tribute to their memory with 
a moment of silence." 

The new bleachers and backstop and also a public address 
system, were in use Sunday. Work on the diamond was started 
three years ago. 

May 28, 1952 — Police Committee had met with a Committee 
from the Chamber of Commerce in regard to parking meters and 
as a result it was decided that something had to be done to regu- 
late parking space in the shopping area. Alderman Kernan moved 
that the Council authorize the Police Committee to provide for 
the installation of parking meters in the city of Rockville. 

Mayor Berger stated that parking meters would be financed 
by the income from the meters. Carried — 8 in favor, 4 not in 

An appropriation of $3,000 to be used for providing more ade- 
quate court room facilities, renovation of the Police Headquarters 
and Council rooms. 

June 25, 1952 — The Mayor called attention to the newly framed 
picture of the first mayor of Rockville, Samuel Fitch. The cost of 



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the framing was paid for by the Mayor's granddaughter, Miss 
Marietta Fitch. 

A communication from trustees of the William Horowitz Foun- 
dation was read. This was in regard to the fund started by Mr. 
Horowitz for a swimming pool, wading pool and field house to be 
presented to the City of Rockville. Since Mr. Horowitz's untimely 
death, the trustees desire to go ahead with this project, to be known 
as the Wm. Horowitz Memorial Swimming Pool. Upon comple- 
tion of the project it will be presented to the City of Rockville, 
which will be responsible for its care and maintenance. 

Voted that the William Horowitz Foundation be allowed to 
go ahead and start construction of swimming pool in Henry Park 
in the area between Memorial Tower and the Tennis Courts. 

Alderman Ertel reported that a Merry-Go-Round had been 
installed in Henry Park for children under twelve years of age. 
He also called attention of the public to golf playing in Henry and 
Talcott Parks and asked for an ordinance to prohibit this practice 
in the city parks. 

December 17, 1952 — Alderman Kernan reported that in a check 
of parking meters Sunday, December 14, $496.01 was collected. 

Voted to make out a check for $25.00 to the Town of Vernon 
to cover any damage that might occur at the East School during 
Junior basketball games and practice. 

Mayor announced committee to consider the advisability of 
establishing a metropolitan district: Alderman Ertel, Alderman 
Kernan, Alderman Peters, Alderman Doherty, Raymond Hunt, Her- 
man Olson, Claude Bilson, and John Dailey. 

April 22, 1953 — Fire Chief Edward Friedrich submitted resig- 
nation by letter. Mayor spoke of his service to community, skill 
and ability. He said it was a shame that the city had to lose 
such a fine man because of the carelessness of some people who 
start grass fires and then wait for the fire department to come and 
put them out. One day Mr. Friedrich had to leave his business 
five times for such fires. 

Special April 27, 1953 — The Mayor announced that the fund 
for the swimming pool was short by about $16,000. He said that 
the City of Rockville had a special fund that could be used for this 
purpose called the Capital and Non-Recurring Expenditure Fund 
for Recreational Purposes. This fund was started several years ago 
and is made up of rentals from the old Peerless Mill. The Mayor 



said he had talked with the Corporation Counsel, and he said the 
fund was perfectly all right to use toward the swimimng pool. 
The city treasurer was instructed to draw $10,000. 



The story of the Fire Department may be traced back to the 
purchase by the Town of Vernon in 1855 of the Fire King, a Smith 
hand engine, built in New York. This took the place of a Button 
engine that had been in service in the town for a dozen years be- 
fore. For over twenty years, the old Fire King, sold in 1903 for 
$100, was the mainstay of the Volunteer firemen of Rockville. 
Those were the days when fire was the great enemy, and fire 
laddies manned the brightly painted hand-pumps and raced 
through the streets with hose carts and ladders. It was an exciting 

In the year 1855 the first Company was organized, and a 
charter of incorporation granted by the State of Connecticut, with 
the following charter members: Joseph Selden, James Toole, Wm. 
C. Avery, G. A. Groves, W. H. Wyckoff, A. A. Presbrey, H. Har- 
wood, H. Newell, A. P. Hammond, John Dawson, Daniel Web- 
ster, Andrew Metcalf, Revilo Winchell, Chauncey Winchell, Chas. 
Metcalf, Alfred Hale, Henry Purnell, E. S. Henry, I. Whateley, 
Warren Branson, Henry Selden, Nathaniel Grant, R. Barber, James 
Farrell, Rufus Chamberlain, A. McKinney, Royal Cobb, Charlie 
Harris, Smith Root, Jos. Thompson, Ed. Kellogg, John W. Thayer, 
Alonzo Bailey, and such other persons residing in the village of 
Rockville, as shall associate with them by voluntary enlistment, not 
to exceed sixty in number, known as the Hockanum Fire Engine 
and Hose Company. The first meeting was held in a small shanty 
on the corner of Orchard and Main Streets, near where the Spring- 
ville mill stands, on December 26, 1855, with Joseph Selden as 
chairman and E. S. Henry as clerk. 

On August 22, 1856, a committee consisting of Jos. Selden. 
W. H. Campbell, A. P. Hammond, W. A. Wyckoff, C. Winchell, 
and Henry Selden was appointed to solicit subscriptions for the 
purpose of erecting an engine house. The committee met with a 
generous response, and the house was erected and dedicated on 
Friday, December 18, 1857, on land which was given for the pur- 
pose. The members of the Company built the foundation from 
stones taken from the ruins of the Grant Mill fire, and judging 
from the minutes of the opening meeting, a right royal time was 
had, with Fire King No. 2 as guest. 

In 1880 legislation was obtained granting the Town of Vernon 



the right to establish a fire district and organize and maintain a 
paid Fire Department. The granting of such a privilege bv the 
Connecticut General Assembly was an innovation, for no town had 
ever been given such authority at that time. Under this act, the 
town appointed a committee consisting of Crosslev Fitton, George 
Svkes, E. Stevens Henrv, to bin" an engine. As a result on Febru- 
ary, 1882, a Silsbv steamer, costing -$3,500, was purchased. 

In August. 1882, a committee was appointed to receive sub- 
scriptions for the purchase of furniture, and the liberal response 
of citizens created a fund of $177 for this purpose. 

The Companv adopted a uniform in October, 1882, selecting 
a regulation cap and belt and a white shirt with red trimmings. 
Each member had the privilege of paving for his own uniform. 
Prompted bv enthusiasm and pride in their work, filled with fire- 
fighting ardor — the firemen of Rockville had a record of faithful 
and effective work. The pav was nominal — 25 dollars a year paid 
by the city after 1890. 

In 1898 the Companv purchased new uniforms, the old ones 
having been in service about fifteen years. 

New equipment was purchased through the years, and citizens 
were deeply interested in the development of the Fire Depart- 

The trial of the new steamer Fitton on March 4, 1882, was 
witnessed bv a large concourse of people gathered on the corners 
of streets and on the upper and middle terraces. In 1888 the 
Silsbv Steam Fire Engine of the same size and capacity as the 
Steam Fitton, also a four-wheeled hose carriage with a capacity 
of 1000 feet of hose, attracted much attention. 

The year 1888 was memorable for its local fires: First alarm on 
the evening of February 13 — E. W. Tracy's smoke house on Main 
Street; the P. R. Moore building on Park Street (totally destroyed); 
Carroll & McDonnell; The Second Congregational Church; Fitch's 
Skating Rink: Snow & Deobler's; M. A. Woodruff; Frank Grant; 
D. E. Barnard; F. W. Wilbur's blacksmith; Harry L. Adams cotton 
mill; Doane's big fire; Wm. Pfunder's. 

On April 3, 1888, the Second Congregational Church and the 
Fitch Block were totally destroyed by fire. The fire was discov- 
ered almost simultaneously by several individuals, including Watch- 
man Griswold of the Rock Mill, who struck the mill bell, the time 
being 12:25 exactly. The fire must have been in progress some 
time as nearly the whole interior of the audience room seemed to 


be on fire. Several windows burst out with flames so hot and 
fierce that it was impossible to get a hydrant stream on the build- 
ing. It was very soon evident that the building could not be saved. 
The flames made quick work of the church, the walls being all 
down in three quarters of an hour. The steeple fell just before 
one o'clock, toppling over into Union Street. 

On the early morning of July 26, 1895, the alarm called the 
Fire Department to the long wooden block of Mr. Orcutt, on Main 
Street. It was a hot fire certainly, with a stiff breeze blowing, so 
much so that cinders were picked up as far north as the Longview 
Schoolhouse and Ellington Marsh, and areas far bevond were at 
one time clouded with smoke. The total loss of the fire was up- 
wards of 865,000. It was one of the most disastrous fires for sev- 
eral vears, many merchants and business men and several families 
suffering. Seven stores were destroyed. 

Another fiery reminiscence is the Market Street fire of Febru- 
ary 28, 1897, early Sunday morning. It destroved the other line 
of stores of Mr. Orcutt, nine in all. This, too, was a wooden struc- 
ture, much older than the Main Street block. One of the build- 
ings, which formed a part of the block, was the old Sears build- 
ing, which was somewhat historical, inasmuch as the upper storv 
was fitted as the first public hall in Rockville, and aside from its 
use for dances, small theatrical shows, etc., it had been the earlv 
home of various religious and other societies. The structure was 
one of those which it is impossible to save, when flames are once 
attached to it. It was of light wood, rendered inflammable bv age 
and bv oils and other inflammable substances, besides standing; 
on stilts, with a tall open basement, which gave ample opportunitv 
for the wind to fan the flames. Just at the south, and onlv a few 
feet distant, stood the American House, which fortunatelv escaped 
serious injurv. At the west were stables and barns so near that it 
needed only a spark to cause their destruction, and at the north 
stood the Exchange Block, which, though of brick, contained not 
a single iron shutter for its windows, and on the east, just across 
the narrow street, stood several wooden structures, so near, that it 
needed not a blaze, but simply the heat to cause them to go up in 
flames, and yet with all of these inflammable smroundings. this 
fiery furnace was kept within its bounds, and the Rockville Fire 
Department added other laurels to those which thev had alreadv 

No. 2 Engine House located on Prospect Streret, the house of 
the Fitton Fire Companv, was destroved bv fire. 


Saturday. November 9, 1912, was a red-letter day for Rock- 
viUe firemen — the dedication of the new Fitton Engine House. A 
number of visiting companies were present to participate, notably 
the Pawtuxet firemen with the old hand engine Fire King. There 
was a parade, with A. L. Martin as marshal and A. M. Burke as 

The building cost -$10,000, was 62 x 32 feet, brick with blue 
stone trimmings and two stories in height. The city made a spe- 
cial appropriation for the new equipment. The new Fitton Fire 
Engine House was erected on an 8 mill tax, which included the 
purchase of a new steam fire engine and other fire-fighting equip- 

The burning of the Fishline Factory on May 10, 1916, was one 
of the most spectacular fires in years. The loss was estimated at 
$75,000. The fire wiped out the entire plant, including all the 
stock and machinery. 

The Rockville Journal Fire on March 20, 1941, was a terrible 

The Princess Hall fire in 1949 was destructive, and citizens 
should be proud of the Fire Department at all these fires. 

Through the years the Fire Department has been developed 
into four companies — Snipsic Hook and Ladder Co., No. 1; the 
Fitton Engine Co., No. 2; The Samuel Fitch Hose Co., No. 3; and 
the Hockanum Hose Company. 

Roger J. Murphy, an enthusiastic member of the Fire Depart- 
ment, tells the story of the hose racing which attracted the atten- 
tion of crowds of people in 1837-1892. This is his comment: 

"We organized the team in 1887. Our first winning was a local 
race of 250 yards, laying 200 feet of hose within the distance, 
break and putting on the pipe. The time was 35y 2 seconds. 
The next race we won carried the state championship with it. 
It was held at Savin Rock on July 20, 1887. The run was 440 
yards, laying 300 feet of hose within the distance, break and 
putting on the pipe ready for water. The carriage weighed 
1,250 pounds, loaded, and we did it in the remarkable time of 
one minute, 9% seconds. 

"The next place we showed our ability as champions was at 
Danny Dunns town, Willimantic, October 8, 1888. The run was 
250 yards, laying 200 feet of hose, break and put on pipe. We 
won with seconds to spare in 38% seconds. 

"There was another state meet at the State Fair at Meriden on 
September 16, 1891. The run was 300 yards laying 300 feet of 



hose within the break and putting on pipe. Wallingford won in 
46% seconds. Fitton was second in 47% seconds. 

"In the same year there was another big race at Bristol. The 
distance was the same as in the race at Meriden and the Fittons 
regained their lost laurels. The Fittons won this and estab- 
lished a state record of 43 seconds, which record still stands." 

"Our next venture was at the State Fair at Meriden on Sep- 
tember 30, 1892, in which we again showed form as champions. 
The distince was 300 yards, laying 300 feet of hose, break and 
put on pipe. We won easily in 46% seconds, beating out our 
rivals, the Wallingfords. 


A partial list of the names of men who served in the Rockville 
Fire Department when the Old Hand Engines were used. 


Jacob Reiden 
Patrick Carey 
John Wagner 
Dennis Delaney 
Joseph Forster 
Thomas Brennan 
R. H. Dawson 
John Cratty 
Charles Wood 
J. W. Bailey 
Loren Griswold 
John Silcox 
A. C. Crosby 
Loren A. Chapin 
Earl Symonds 
John Pinder 
L. A. Corbin 
Thomas Wendhiser 
James W. Burton 
Frank Grant 
Richard Lee 
James Wicks 
John Dunn 
Joseph Wicks 
William Lahey 
James McCarthy 
Dwight Buckminster 
H. G. Holt 
Nelson Buckminster 
James Morrison 
M. W. Pember 
Thomas Moore 

Joshua Wood 
George Harris 
James Fitzgerald 
B. L. Burr 
George Mesler 
Patrick Lynch 
Patrick McGuane 
Thomas Cratty 
Martin Flood 
John G. Leach 
Willard Griswold 
W. R. Mills 
Wells Symonds 
Samuel Willis 
Fred Doebler 
Christian Cook 
John Corbin 
Henry Buckminster 
O. C. West 
Alfred Harding 
George Lee 
Mark Hook 
Lawrence Cavanaugh 
John Cullen 
Almon Harris 
Thomas Flood 
Alfred Abbey 
Ashley Bartlett 
H. T. Bolles 
Nathan H. Thompson 
Fred Gainor 
S. L. Hickoth 

Lewis Hunt 
C. E. Harris 
John T. Carroll 
Nicholas Wendhiser 
Lorenzo Webster 

F. B. Skinner 
Maurice Rady 
John Abbey 

G. L. Grant 

A. P. Dickinson 
Osroy Bartlett 
Wm. Rogers 
W. R. Olcutt 
Chas. Weston 
Chas. Vuettner 
Frank Karber 
John White 

G. N. Brigham 
Frank E. White 
Alfred Gainor 
Julius Thrall 
J. F. Wicks 
Mathew Cavanaugh 
Dennis E. Nooman 
William V. McNerney 
James Lee 

B. F. Lloyd 

W. J. Thompson 
Silas Putnam 
E. P. Allen 
Samuel Wicks 




Cyrus Winchell 
Michael Regan 
August Hemmann 
James Looke 
Charles Brown 
William Scott 
Fred Weber 
James Breen 
Levi Bailey- 
James Stevens 
James Gilfillan 
Thos. F. Burpee 
Chas. C. Blackman 
James Sheehan 
Augustus Truesdell 
Frank Pfeifer 
Carlos McKinney 
Ferdinand Batz 
John Gillis 
John G. Bonnett 
Redmond Morrison 
John Stewart 
J. B. Fuller 
John Jackson 
N. R. Grant 
E. S. Henry 
Michael A. Burke 
Ralph I. Barber 
Edward Kellogg 
H. A. Clifford 
John Chapman 
Henry Schmalz 
Thomas Schick 

Chauncey Winchell 
W. H. Jones 
Frank Schmidt 
Edward Marshman 
Martin Burke 
Charles Metcalf 
Patrick Burns 
Samuel Woods 
Edward White 
Thomas Forrest 
Thomas Whatly 
Joseph Selden 
R. G. Holt 
Edward Batz 
Alex Ritchie 
Daniel Haas 
August Reidel 
John Pitney 
Henry Marshman 
Martin Yost 
Michael Morrison 
Henry Tiley 
James Fuller 
Miles King 
A. Park Hammond 
Louis Pfeifer 
Henry Selden 
Algernan McKinney 
Martin Truesdell 
Maurice Rady 
James Toole 
William Harlan 
Hiram Nuvell 

Revillo Winchell 
John Hook 
Adam Weidner 
Gideon Angell 
Martin Dowling 
John Schaefer 
William Austin 
Lebbeus Bissell 
Thomas Eccles 
Edward Hurlbut 
Hezekiah McVernney 
S. Albert Groves 
Joseph G. Thompson 
August Batz 
Andrew G. Metcalf 
Adolph VanStaudt 
Max Kolmer 
Thomas Burt 
Gideon Marshman 
Patrick Buckley 
Rufus Chamberlain 
Wm. Randall 
M. Buckley 
Patrick Dwyer 
John Denzler 
Oscar Fidler 
Fred Harding 
Cas. G. Pond 
Chas. Pfeifer 
Henry Purnell 
Jonathan Ladd 
Valentine Bentz 



Title Page 

The French and Indian Wars 344 

The Revolutionary War 345 

The War of 1812 , 347 

The Mexican War 348 

The Civil War 349 

The Spanish-American War 357 

World War I 359 

World War II 367 

The Korean Conflict 381 

Centennial Celebration 383 

Program of "Old Home Week" 386 

Connecticut's Tercentenary Celebration 389 

Title Page 

Memorial Hall 352 

Memorial Tower on Fox Hill 379 





On the following pages will be found brief accounts of the wars 
in which the Colonies and the United States have been involved, and 
in which there has been an increasing participation of men and women 
of the town of Vernon. 

The Honor Roll of Vernon's war dead, brought up-to-date in 1952, 
is the most complete and comprehensive in the entire state of Connec- 
ticut. Even so, we regretfully suspect that the names of some have 
not been preserved for us. 



France vs. England (England received aid from the English 
Colonies in America.) 

Causes : 

( 1 ) Control of the Ohio Valley was the immediate cause of 

(2) Both France and England were waging war for the 
control of the American continent. 


( 1 ) English civilization, rather than Spanish or French, was 
to be dominant in North America. 

(2) The war enabled the colonial militia to acquire valu- 
able military experience and to develop such leaders as Washing- 
ton, Schuyler, Montgomery and others. 

(3) The removal of the French menace made the colonies 
less dependent upon the mother country for protection, and, there- 
fore, more independent in their attitude toward her. 



Loomis, Elijah 


Brunson, Isaac Chapman, Thomas King, Hezekiah 

Thrall, Isaac 

In addition to the above, according to the Bolton Records, sev- 
eral Soldiers from Bolton died in this war: 

Levi Strong at Fort Edward, July 25, 1757. 

Charles King at Lake George, September 6, 1758. 

Thomas Wells on his return from the Army from Crown Point, 

November 30, 1759. 
Stephen Boardman, Jr., at Oswego, N. Y., after the conquest of 

Jonathan Wright, Jr., at Oswego, N. Y. 
Hosea Bronson, at Havana, October 2, 1762. 




( 1 ) The environment of the New World, plus long periods 
of "salutory neglect," had bred a spirit of liberty and self-reliance. 

(2) The theory of mercantilism which dominated 18th cen- 
tury economic thought conflicted with the vital interests of the 
colonies and with their ideal of self-government in politics and 
freedom in trade. 

(3) The unwise policies adopted by George III and his ad- 
visers after 1763 to secure more effective political and economic 
control over the colonies aroused a storm of opposition and led 
to acts of violence on both sides which made reconciliation impos- 


(1) By the Treaty of Paris (1783), Great Britain recognized 
the independence of the United States. 



Grant, Elnathan 
King, Lemuel 

Rogers, Leonard 
Smith, Roswell 

Squires, Daniel 
Talcott, Phineas 


Dart, Leve 
Dart, William 

Loomis, Elijah 
Millard, Leavitt 
Talcott, Samuel 

Skinner, Zenas 
Talcott, Benjamin 


Chapman, Phineas 
Chapman, Thomas 
Chesebrough, Jabez 
Dart, William 
Dorchester, David 
Emerson, Andrew 
Grant, Ozias 
Hunt, William 
Johns Abijah 
Johns, Thomas 

Kellogg, Ebenezer 
King, Charles 
King, Elijab 
King, Dock Joel 
King, Oliver 
King, Seth 
King, Reuben 
King, Stephen 
Loomis, Solomon 
McKinney, Alexander 

Payne, John 
Pearle, Joshua 
Pratt, Timothy 
Root, Daniel 
Root, Samuel 
Talcott, Benjamin 
Talcott, Justus 
Tucker, Ephian 
Walker, John 
Webster, Asabel 



The closest that war ever came to Vernon was when the British 
burned New London, on the 6th of September, 1781. That event, 
along with the battle of Groton Heights, caused considerable alarm 
through the inland towns. In the second volume of Smith's "His- 
tory of Pittsfield" is told the story of what happened in Vernon on 
that occasion: 

"Abel West was in his early manhood when the Revolu- 
tionary War broke out. The little congregation in Vernon 
being assembled for worship on the Sabbath, a courier rushed 
in and announced that the enemy were on hand, off New 
London, and men and help were needed. The minister stopped 
services and exhorted his people to take their arms and go. 
All the men rushed to their arms, such as each man had. 
Young West was lame and had nothing but a single barreled 
fowling piece, but he was there on the ground as soon as his 
neighbors. Governor Trumbull, seeing his lameness and 
weapon, assured him that he would do more for his country 
by going home and raising food for the army than by fight- 
ing. He took the advice and returned home; but the fire of 
patriotism still glowed, and grew in intensity, till, hearing 
how hard it was for Washington to procure food for his army, 
he sold his farm and put the "avails" in open wagons loaded 
with food, all he had in the world, and started south. When 
passing through New Jersey, he met a courier riding and 
shouting that Lord Cornwallis had surrendered, and the war 
was over. The provisions would not be needed, and he need 
not proceed further. The government took all off his hands, 
paid him down in Continental money, which was not worth a 
farthing, and the patriot returned home stripped of all he had, 
and was a poor man the rest of his days." 

There is reason to believe that this story has been exaggerated, 
especially in regard to the voluntary poverty of Abel West, for the 
records of Bolton show that in 1790 Abel West was wealthy enough 
to buy and sell lands lying in the present town of Vernon. 

THE WAR OF 1812 (1812-1814) 

(1) The impressment of American seamen by the British. 

(2) The inexcusable attack of the British man-of-war, the 
Leopard, upon the American frigate, the Chesapeake, in 1807. 

(3) English agents provided the Indians of the Northwest 
with arms. 


(1) The Treaty of Ghent reestablished peace between the 
two nations. 

(2) The chief significance of the War of 1812 lay in its ef- 
fects on the internal development of our own country. 

WAR OF 1812 


Carpenter, Solomon Kellogg, Israel McKinney, Justus 

Colton, Giden Kingsbury, John Spellman, Samuel T. 

Tinker, Lebius P. 


Abbott, John Fuller, Matthew S. McLean, Francis 

Bruce, Thadeus Grant, Elisha Palmer, Elliott 

Cady, Russell Hammond, Joseph Roberts, Cornelius 

Chapman, Andrew Kellogg, Martin Rogers, Auson 

Chapman, Benjamin King, Joel Talcott, Phineas 

Chapman, Elijah King, Oliver H. White, Daniel 


Lee, Elijah Tucker, Harvey 


Hunt, Oliver Kellogg, Martin 


THE MEXICAN WAR (1846-1848) 

( 1 ) The annexation of Texas bv the United States. 

( 2 ) The immediate cause of hostilities was the entrv of 
General Tavlor's troops into the disputed area between the Nueces 
River and the Rio Grande, an area claimed bv both Mexico and 

Results : 

( 1 ) The conflict further embittered relations between Mex- 
ico and the United States, traces of this enmity surviving to our 
own day. 

( 2 ) It enabled the United States to complete its expansion 
to the Pacific coast. 

( 3 ) It brought to the front once again the status of slavery 
in the Western Territories. 

According to the National Archives and Records Service, 
Washington, D. C, there were no men from the town of Vernon 
in the regular Army during the Mexican War. There are in the 
War Department no records of volunteer troops from Connecticut 
who served in this war. 


THE CIVIL WAR (1361-1865) 

( 1 ) The withdrawal of the Southern states from the Union. 

(2) The conflict between two different economic and so- 
cial systems. 

( 3 ) The quarrel over slavery. 


( 1 ) The Union was preserved. 

(2) Slavery was abolished. 

(3) Democracy was put to its greatest test — survived. 

The men who were drafted from Vernon went to the Florence 
Mill, now the Envelope Shop, where there was a recruiting office. 
The Boys in Blue did not leave town in busses or trains. They were 
loaded into big wagons drawn by four horses and taken to Vernon, 
and there they took the train. 

A morgue was established in the schoolroom of what is now 
the First Lutheran Church on West Main Street. Bodies of the 
dead were brought there for Union soldiers and relatives to identifv. 

Edward A. Denzler, "the Mayor of Ward Street" has told of 
the time of Abraham Lincoln's assassination — that the message was 
brought to Rockville bv telegraph, the telegraph office being lo- 
cated in a hardware store in the basement of the Second Congrega- 
tional Church. There were no radios and no telephones then. All 
the bells in town rang, and people came from every direction to 
see what had happened. 



Auld, John 
Avery, Frederick B. 
Bailey, Joseph 
Bailey, Leo 
Batten, William 
Bever, August 
Bilson, Henry J. 
Bowers, Abner S. 
Bradley, Henry J. 

Brigham, George N. 
Brooks, Charles U. 
Brown, Avery 
Bruce. William C. 
Burpee, Thomas F. 
Burr, Bela L. 
Carson, David I. 
Chadwick, John H. 
Chapin, Loan A. 

Chapman, Daniel F. 
Charter, Leverett 
Colburn, George W. 
Cooley, Charles C. 
Dart, 'Charles E. 
Dart, Egbert 
Dickinson, Francis P. 
Durfee, Thomas M. 
Ellis, Samuel K. 




Emerson, William 
Emery. Ira 
Fehr, Jacob 
Febber, Jacob 
Forrest, Samuel A. 
Frank, Jacob 
Fuller, Lafayette D. 
Gainer, Albert E. 
Gainer, Frederick H. 
Gakeler, Albert 
Gilmore, Robert 
Goldrick, John T. 
Goodell, William W. 
Goodrick, George W. 
Griswold, Loren S. 
Griswold, Russell 
Griswold, Willard 
Gross, August 
Hammond, A. Park 
Hartenstein. Louis 
Hayes, Edwin C. 
Henimann, August 
Hetzler, John 
Hells, Orrin O. 
Hirst, Benjamin 
Hirst, John 
Hirst, Joseph 
Holt, Roland 
Holtsizer, John 
Hook, William 
Hoy, Frederick 
Hunt, Lewis W. 
Isham, John W. 
Jackson, Cyrus F. 
James, Joseph H. 
Julian, John F. 
Keller, John F. 
King, Albert J. 
King, Harvey 
Koehler, Jacob A. 

Laurin, John W. 
Lathrop, Edwin H. 
Lee, George 
Lee, Richard 
London, George 
Loomis, William H. 
Lutz, Jacob 
Maine, Frank D. 
Mann, William 
Martin, Elisha J. 
McFarlane, Charles 
Mcintosh, David 
McKinney, Austin A. 
McPherson, John 
Metcalf, Martin U. B. 
Miller, John F. 
Muller, Karl 
Myer, Emil 
Newell, Julius H. 
Newell, Kilbourne E. 
Noad, William J. 
Orven, Henry 
Parker, Augustine B. 
Pease, Charles W. 
Pease, Horatio E. 
Pennovsky, Oscar 
Phelpo, Lester D. 
Phillipp, Louis 
Pierce, George A. 
Pinney, Lyman D. 
Porter, Joseph 
Post, Edwin 
Pratt, Thomas S. 
Pryor, Issac T. 
Putnam, Adam P. 
Rapp, Henry 
Reed, Richard 
Reedel, August 
Resier, Franz J. 
Rentschler, John 

Renz, Christopher 
Rich, Albert L. 
Rich, Samuel C. 
Rockwell, Asahel S. 
Root, William B. 
Schrieier, Louis 
Schrieier, Otto 
Scott, William 
Seymour, Buch 
Skinner, Alden 
Smith, Isaac N. 
Snell, Marcus N. 
Stebbins, Elton R. 
Stickney, John W. 
Stoughton, Erwin 
Stranbeld, Gristow 
Strong, William H. 
Symonds, Edwin 
Symonds, John 
Tiley, Henry 
Towne, Albert H. 
Truesdell, Alfred W. 
Truesdell, Harlan P. 
Truesdell, Martin A. 
Vinton, Chelsea G. 
Warner, Alfred B. 
West, Delrone 
Weston, Charles 
Wicks, Frederick 
Wicks, Genge 
Willibold, Walter 
Williams, John 
Willis, Dominick 
Winans, William H. 
Wood, Charles W. 
Wyllys, Charles A. 
Yost, Martin 
Young, Fred W. 


Abbott, Thomas F. 
Austin, Eugene G. 
Banker, Charles E. 
Baker, Denison 
Bingham. George S. 
Blinn, Henry E. 
Dart, Oliver 

Edgerton, Alton L. 
George, William H. 
Harvey, Melvin 
Kneeland, Dwight 
Ogden, John A. 
Orcutt, Henry 
Pearl, Henry M. 

Perkins, Russell W, 
Pratt. Henrv W. 
Talcott, Allyn K. 
Thompson, Jacob 
Thrall, Charles G. 
Warren, Gilbert 




Bantley, Francis 
Brown, Orrin O. 
Bushnell, James M. 
Foster, Philip H. 
Gammons, Warren S. 
Griswold, Ward H. 

Hills, Alonzo 
Hollister, Orin G. 
Hunn, Horace 
Loomis, Henry S. 
Lord, Sylvester G. 
McCollum, Henry F. 

Percival, John H. 
Pierce, Albert B. 
Pinney, Henry G. 
Stoughton, Frank E. 


Abby, John 
Boyne, Patrick 
Brennan, John W. 
Conner, Patrick 
Cowan, William 
Farrell, James 
Farrell, James 
Farrell, Matthew 
Farrell, Matthew 
Fay, Michael 
Fay, Patrick 
Foley, Patrick 

Jackson, Patrick 
Kelly, Daniel 
Kernan, Thomas 
LaCrosse, Felix 
Ladd, George W. 
McCarthy, Samuel 
Messier, George 
Molloy, Thomas 
Moore, Dennis 
Murphy, William 
Willeke, Frederick 
Murray, Joseph 

Noone, Patrick 
O'Connell, John 
O'Brien, Patrick 
Powers, John 
Rich, Eustus 
Stafford, Joseph 
Stark, Thomas 
Tate, George 
Tone, Thomas 
Tierney, Michael 





For twenty years nothing was done to commemorate the 336 
heroes of the Town of Vernon, who fell in the War of the Rebel- 
lion. It was not until the year 1884 that any public action in the 
matter was taken. William W. Andros had the honor of bringing 
it before the people at the Memorial Day exercises at Rockville. 
At that time he read a paper presenting strongly the obligations 
of the town to its soldiers, and made a vigorous plea for a memorial 
in their honor. 

At the next Annual Town Meeting in October, 1884, a resolu- 
tion was introduced bv William W. Andros asking for an appropria- 
tion to erect a soldiers' memorial monument. Judge Dwight Loomis 
and several others were strongly in favor of a memorial for the sol- 
diers but not in the particular form suggested. Thev advocated 
erecting a large and handsome building which would not onlv be 
a fitting memorial for soldiers but at the same time be of use and 
benefit to the town. A committee was therefore chosen consist- 
ing of William W. Andros, Judge Dwight Loomis, A. P. Hammond, 
E. S. Henry, Dr. A. R. Goodrich and H. Gardner Talcott to con- 
sider the matter and report at a future meeting. 

At the Annual Town Meeting of October, 1885, the committee 
recommended the purchase of a site for the building. Thev were 
in favor of buying the lot at the corner of Park and School Streets 
from Benezet H. Bill for $7,000. The town voted to do it, and 
soon after the lot was bought. 

At the Annual Town Meeting October 3, 1887, the town voted 
to appropriate $75,000 for a Memorial and Town Building on the 
Park and School Streets site, according to the plans presented bv 
the Building Committee chosen — E. S. Henrv, James Fitzgerald. 
George Sykes, A. P. Hammond and Dr. A. R. Goodrich. 

Soon after the meeting there developed considerable opposi- 
tion to the Park Street site which found expression in a call for a 
Town Meeting on February 11, 1888, to see if the town would 
rescind the vote to build on the site purchased, and buv the 
Dowling lot, near the corner of Union and West Main Streets. 

A large and well-drawn map of Rockville designed to show the 
poor location of the site bought bv the town on Park and School 
Streets was exhibited in the post office lobbv. The map was in- 
tended to show Dowling's Corner, Union and Main Streets as a 
more desirable location. 



At a special town meeting gathered to decide the question of 
changing the location, it was voted 345 to 235 in favor of the 
Dowling lot, but it was discovered that Dowling wouldn't sell the 
lot, as he had planned to build a business block there. 

Then it was suggested that the First Church lot would make 
the best possible site. So another special town meeting was held 
on March 31, 1888, and at that time George Maxwell, Samuel Fitch 
and others offered to give the town the Jackson lot on Union 
Street, east of the site on which the library now stands, valued at 
$12,000, free, for a hall site. This meeting was adjourned until 
April 14, 1888, when a vote by ballot was taken for the Church lot 
or the Jackson lot, resulting in 1,021 votes cast; 595 to 426 in favor 
of the First Church lot. The polls opened at 8 A.M. and closed at 
5 P.M. 

The site secured proved ideal for such a building. Located 
in the business center of the town, it is a conspicuous object from 
every direction. It fronts the beautiful Central Park, adjoins the 
fine Henry Building on the east and the imposing Methodist Church 
edifice on the west. The lot on Park Place is 148 feet with a 
depth of 93 feet east, and on the west the lot extends back 193 

It is a magnificent building for the use of the town: on the first 
floor there are various town offices, on the second floor is located 
the court room, with numerous ante-rooms, and on the third floor 
is the town hall, covering nearly the whole space of the building, 
66 feet by 99 feet. The plans were prepared by Richmond & Sea- 
bury, Springfield, architects, and the contract for $68,150 was with 
Darling Brothers, Worcester, Massachusetts. Over one million 
bricks were used in the building. 

Memorial Day on Thursday, May 30, 1889, was more truly and 
completely a memorial day than any previously held, for this was 
the appointed time for the laying of the corner stone of the Me- 
morial Building. 

At 2 o'clock in the afternoon a parade was formed on Union 
Street and moved to Memorial Hall. Dr. A. R. Goodrich presided 
over the exercises. A patriotic selection was rendered by the 
American Band; opening prayer, Rev. O. W. Scott; an oration by 
Judge Dwight Loomis. At the close of the oration, President 
Goodrich requested the Grand Lodge of Connecticut Free and 
Accepted Masons to lay the corner-stone, according to the sacred 
rites of the craft. 


Past Grand Master Green conducted the ceremonies. Prayer 
was offered by Grand Chaplain Warner. A box of documents was 
placed within a stone which was dedicated by the pouring upon 
it of corn, wine and oil. There were brief addresses by Past Mas- 
ter Green and Department Commander Pierpont. 

It is worthy of note that the cornerstone of the Memorial Hall 
is over the identical place where previously there stood a temple 
dedicated to the living God — the First Congregational Church. 

The first gathering in the town hall of the Memorial Building 
was a special town meeting on Saturday afternoon, September 6, 
1890, at 2 o'clock. The building committee presented its detailed 
report of the building, showing the total cost of $88,106.05. The 
final payment on the Memorial building was made in September, 

Judge Dwight Loomis observed that there was one grave over- 
sight in the planning. No room had been given to a public library 
and reading room. He remarked that E. S. Henry in 1887 had of- 
fered to be one of ten to give $1,000 a year for ten years towards 
such a room for a library. Judge Loomis also spoke of the desira- 
bility of suitable tablets which would recognize the individual sol- 
dier. He submitted the following resolution which was adopted, 
but not carried out: 

Resolved: — "That the public duty of properly per- 
petuating the memory of the services of those brave men 
is not fully discharged until suitable tablets are placed in 
the vestibule of Memorial Building whereon shall be re- 
corded the name and regiment of every soldier enlisting 
from the Town of Vernon and voted that a committee of 
five be appointed and instructed to procure suitable bronze 
tablets in accordance with the foregoing resolution, and 
also to erect at the expense of the Town a proper pedestal 
with a symbolic statue whenever sufficent funds are pro- 
vided by public subscription to defray the cost of the 

A tragedy occurred during the erection of the building. An- 
tonio Colombe, 39, a bricklayer from Holyoke, Massachusetts, fell 
from the tower, a distance of sixty feet, on Thursday, September 
26, 1889, and was instantly killed. A week later, on Friday, Oc- 
tober 4, two workmen, August Jensen and John Hanse, Worcester, 
Massachusetts, repairing the staging on the front of Union Church 
tower fell seventy feet, and were killed. 


In November, 1952, for the first time since the City of Rock- 
ville was incorporated in 1889, an appropriation was made by the 
voters to make possible a radical change in the departments situ- 
ated on the entire west ground floor of the Memorial Building. 

The alterations were started in November, 1952, and com- 
pleted in December, 1953, at a cost to the city of $2,872.67, in- 
cluding the changing of the former Common Council Chamber, 
occupied by the Mayor, the City Clerk and Superintendent of Pub- 
lic Works and the present Police Department. 

What was formerly the Police Station located in the center of 
the three departments is now the office of the Superintendent of 
Public Works and that of the Building Inspector. The rear cham- 
ber north, formerly the Police Court Room, is now occupied jointly 
by the Police Court and Court of Common Council. The various 
departments have been modernized, and asphalt tiling laid on the 
entire floor, and the cost to the Town of Vernon, according to Se- 
lectman Pagani, was approximately $4,000. The total cost of the 
change was approximately $7,000. 


(1) The sinking of the U.S.S. Maine while on a visit to 

(2) The cruel measures employed by Spain's General Wey- 
ler to crush the insurrection in Cuba. 


(1) The United States emerged from the conflict with the 
rank of a world power. 

(2) The United States acquired Puerto Rico, Guam, and 
the Philippine Islands. (Spain agreed to give up the Philippines 
in return for $20,000,000.) 


Captain — Martin Laubscher 

Lieutenants — 1st, John Paul Haun; 2nd, Frederick W. Chapman. 

First Sergeant — James H. Barnett. 

Sergeants — Quartermaster, Francis Murray; Charles B. Milne, Arthur 
W. Gyngell, *James W. Milne, Albert E. Usher. 

Corporals — 1st, William F. Schillinger; 2nd, Webster Kaye; 3rd, James 
S. Jones; 4th, Arthur R. Gerich; 5th, William J. Breen; 6th, Albert 

E. M. Profe. 

Musicians — William J. Finley, Walter F. McCray. 

Artificer — Henry C. Seipt. 


Charles R. Anderson Hugo Broil Philip Diedering, Jr. 

Sylvester E. Arnold Harry J. Brown Francis F. Einseidel 

Ernest E. Austin Frank D. Chadwick James B. Farrell 

Albert C. Bartlett Richard G. Champion Francis P. Fitzpatrick 

James A. Beaumont Wilbur F. Charter Joseph H. Flynn 

Charles E. Binck Jesse Clift Otto Flossbach 

Richard Brache John Connors, 2nd Herman P. Franz 

Frank S. Breen Jewitt Cullum John E. Gawtrey 




George F. Gorham 
*Felix Gross 
Manville Grumback 
John J. Hecker 
George A. Hewitt 
John A. Hewitt 
Andrew Hopf 
Squire Jackson 
Jason D. Lowell 
Charles F. Ludwig 
James H. Lutton 
Joseph H. Lutz 
Thomas P. Lynch 
Mathew McNamara 

Philip J. Mahr 
Ferfinand A. Matthewson 
George Meyer 
George H. Miller 
Thomas L. Millott 
Thomas F. Moore 
John C. Murphy 
Donald K. McLagan 
Thomas F. Newbury 
Francis M. Norton 
John J. O'Neil 
William Phillips 
Frederick J. A. H. Profe 
James J. Quinn 

Robert H. Rau 
John Regan 
Emil R. Schwerwitzky 
Carl C. Schmeiske 
Emil W. Schmieske 
Ernest A. Sharp 
Isaac Simms 
John H. Smith 
Frederick W. Stengel 
Henry H. Tracy 
Herman C. Wagner 
Anthony Wanneger 
Walter J. Willis 
Howard Winchell 

-Died of typhoid fever, contracted while in the service of Uncle Sam. 



Capt. Martin Laubscher 
Bartlett, Albert C. Gross, Felix 

Burpee, Lucien P. Grumback, Manville 

Chapman, Frederick W. Gyngell, Arthur W. 
Cliff, Jesse Hervitt, George A. 

Flossbach, Otto E. Milne, James W. 

Proffe, Albert 
Schmeiske, Carl C. 
Rockwell, Thomas F. 
Thayer, George B. 
Waidner, Charles J. 


Barnett, James H. 
Breen, William J. 
Hecker, John J. 
Hefferon, William M. 

McNamara, Matthew 
Murphy, John C. 
Newbury, Henry C. 
Phillips, William J. 

Quinn, James J. 
Willis, Walter J. 
Belotte, Joseph J. 
Bliss, George F. 
Brown, Robert J. 
Byron, William C. 
Cahill, William 
Ciechowski, Joseph 
Doherty, James E. 
Plesa, Michael S. 

Edwards, Thomas 
Farrell, Stephen J. 
Hatheway, John E. 
Kaminski, Genevieve R 
Kennedy, John 
King, Ivan 
Kleindienst, John C. 
Leahy, William D. 
Moore, Joseph J. 

WORLD WAR I (1917-1918) 


( 1 ) Germany's unrestricted submarine campaign. 

(2) The idea that it was our duty to enter the war in order 
to "end autocracy" and help "make the world safe for democracy" 
was very real in 1917. 

Results : 

(1) The Central Powers were defeated. 

(2) President Wilson succeeded in getting the Covenant of 
the League of Nations adopted as the first article of the Treaty of 
Versailles. The United States Senate rejected the Treaty of Ver- 

(3) The United States did not join the League of Nations. 
The United States embarked on a policy of isolationism during the 


Ahern, Howard G. 
AmEnde, Albert 
Anderson, Gustave 
Andrews, Frederick P. 
Andrews, Roland Nelson 
Anear, Earl Leslie 
Atcheson, Walter Harvey 
Athanacelous, Alkiviades 
Ayer, Floyd E. 
Backofen, Alfred H. 
Backofen, Ernest P. 
Backofen, Walter P. 
Backofen, William 
Badsteubner, Frank A. 
Baer, Max P. 
Baer, William A. 
Bajorin, Bartholomew 
Barber, James S. 
Batz, Charles F. 
Bean, Allen D. 
Beaverstock, Lester H. 
Beebe, Olin J. 
Beinhauer, William 
Bellucci, Harry 
Benton, Lester F. 
Benton, Rutherford 

Beer, Alfred W. 
Bilcelki, Alex 
Bissell, Lebbeus F. 
Blankenburg, Charles W. 
Blonstein, Morris L. 
Blonstein, Reuben 
Bock, John 
Bowers, Ira E. 
Brahe, Ferdinard H. 
Brennan, James J. 
Brigham, George N. 
Brogowski, John J. 
Brown, Robert J. 
Buchanan, Robert L. 
Burkhardt, Walter A. 
Burney, Alexander 
Byrnes, Edward T. 
Cadder, Thomas M. 
Cahill, William 
Caron, Walter E. 
Carver, Justin B. 
Carver, Percy H. 
Cattone, William R. 
Chapin, Harry 
Chapman, Daniel E. 
Chapman, Lewis H. 

Charter, Legrand F. 
Chase, William R. 
Christopher, Gordon N. 
Church, Elmer A. 
Ciechowski, John S. 
Ciechowski, Joseph 
Clark, Charles E. 
Clark, George E. 
Colombo, John J. 
Columbo, Paul F. 
Conrady, Carl 
Coogan, Edward B. 
Cook, Caspar 
Cooley, Percy L. 
Cooley, Sterling C. 
Cormier, Robert 
Couture, Peter E. 
Covras, William N. 
Cratty, Francis B. 
Cratty, John J. 
Crossett, Sidney R. 
Crossley, John D. 
Crough, Olin J. 
Cyrkiewicz, Frank 
Davies, Robert A. 
Davis, Elmer W. 





Davis, Ray A. 
Deal, Alfred F. 
Deal, William W. 
Dean, Philip 
Deptula, John K. 
Deptula, Louis 
Deptula, William 
Desso, Rufus D. 
Dickinson, Allan L. 
Dickinson, Francis M. 
Dimock, Howard Orrin 
Dobosz, Stanley 
Doggert, Robert J. 
Doherty, Charles F. 
Doherty, Cornelius H. 
Doherty, James E. 
Dowding, Eldred F. 
Dowding, Harold N. 
Dowling, Martin C. 
Doyle, John J., Jr. 
Duell, Christopher J. 
Dunbar, Washington 
Dunlap, William J. 
Elliott, Frederick L. 
Elliott, George F. 
Elliott, Walter 
Ellis, Elton H. 
Emery, Theodore Ira 
Ertel, Harry F. 
Fahey, James W. 
Fahey, Raphael E. 
Fahey, Raymond A. 
Farr, Thomas J. 
Fay, James R. 
Filip, Frank A. 
Finley, George H. 
Finley, Vincent 
Fiss, Charles A. 
Fiss, William C. 
Fitch, James Judd 
Flaherty, Leo B. 
Flamm, Harry W. 
Flechsig, Albert 
Forrest, John E. 
Frey, Arthur Peter 
Frey, Charles J. 
Friedrich, Albert 
Frieze, John Peter 
Fryer, Curtis F. 
Gambosi, John 
Gearin, William 
Gebhardt, Carl 
Georgie, William 
Gerich, Carl E. 
Gerich, Charles J. 

Gerich, Fred W. 
Glasser, Paul 
Goldberg, Maurice 
Goldfield, Ben E. 
Goldfield, Harry 
Goldfield, Meyer 
Gonsensky, Stephen 
Gough, Francis J. 
Gough, William T. 
Grant, William John 
Green, Frank J. 
Greer, Frank A. 
Grennan, John L. 
Griffin, Herbert 
Grous, Bronislaw 
Grous, William G. 
Gsell, Arthur 
Gworek, Jacob 
Hammond, George E. 
Hanawold, Albert F. 
Hannan, William G. 
Hansen, Henry P. 
Hansen, Milton C. 
Hansen, Walter E. 
Hany, Ernest J. 
Harding, Edward G. 
Hartenstein, Frederick 
Hartman, Leslie L. 
Haun, Ralph 
Haun, Renatus C. 
Hecker, Edward J. 
Heckler, Arthur D. 
Hefferon, Hamilton H. 
Heintz, Edward Henry 
Held, Gottlieb M. 
Held, Ottmar Henry 
Heller, Adolph G. 
Heller, Benjamin 
Heller, William 
Herig, Edwin J. 
Herring, Clifford L. 
Hill, Emory O. 
Hiller, George K. 
Hirth, William K. 
Hitchcock, Charles W. 
Holden, James J. 
Hollister, Hudson W. 
Holtsizer, John C. 
Hopkins, Walter E. 
Huebner, Adam 
Hunniford, Herbert F. 
Hunniford, William 
Hvesuk, Nicholas 
Irmischer, Paul 
Jelinek, Francis J. 

Jelinek, John J. 
Jeskalis, Edward 
John, Pavlos H. 
Johnson, Chester W. 
Jones, Everett W. 
Kaminski, Genevieve R. 
Kania, Francis 
Karagianakis, John L. 
Keeney, David Nelson 
Keeney, Gordon Henry 
Keeney, Roger Moore 
Kellem, Clarence E. 
Kellem, George W. 
Kellner, Carl A. 
Kellner, Carl S. 
Kelley, Joseph D. 
Kennedy, John T. 
Keune, August 
Kingsbury, Charles H. 
Kingsbury, Fred Dewey 
Kington, William E. 
Kleindienst, John G. 
Klisko, John 
Kobak, Joseph A. 
Koch, Clarence F. 
Koratieus, Felix 
Koschwitz, Fritz 
Krause, Albert W. 
Krause, Hillmar 
Krause, Plenny G. 
Kreh, Henry Aimer 
Kriz, Benjamin 
Kulo, Joseph 
Kwiatkowski, John 
Kynoch, William A. 
LaChapell, Victor T. 
Ladish, William O. 
Landers, John L. 
Lanz, Charles Erwin 
Lassow, Curtis W. 
Lathrop, Perry A. 
Laubscher, Louis K. 
Laubscher, Martin P. 
Lebeskevsky, Harry 
Lee, Christopher A. 
Lee, William 
Lehmann, Paul C. 
Lerner, Herman C. 
Lessig, Albert R. 
Lewis, Harry Y. 
Liebe, Milton R. 
Liebe, William C. 
Lisk, Charles G. 
Lisk, Henry 
Little, Alfred F. 




Litz, Frederick A. 
Litz, William E. 
Loeffler, Albert H. 
Loomis, Harold F. 
Loomis, Rodney L. 
Loos, William Emil 
Lee, Asa R. 
Lounsbury, Harold C. 
Lucas, Alex S. 
Luetjen, Fred W. G. 
Luetjen, William Otto 
Lutton, Thomas J. 
Lutton, William J. 
Lutz, John 
Lutz, Charles Frank 
Lynch, William F. 
Madden, Thomas J. 
Maher, John 
Mahoney, George J. 
Mann, Elton A. 
Marcinowski, Benjamin 
Markert, Henry J. 
Marley, William P. 
Marshnoske, Frank P. 
Martley, Francis J. 
Mason, Albert L. 
Mataitis, Clemens 
May, Otto F. 
Maynard, Leroy D. 
McCorriston, David J. 
McCarthy, Charles E. 
McGray, John S. 
Mcintosh, James L. 
McKenna, Raymond 
McKenna, John J. 
McNally, James 
McNally, Thomas W. 
McNeill, Maine R. 
Mead, Nelson C. 
Mehr, Howard 
Menge, Paul 
Meredith, Edward G. 
Merrell, Leslie C. 
Mertens, Arthur 
Mertens, William K. 
Metcalf, Elliot H. 
Metcalf, Joseph H. 
Metcalf, Mildred A. 
Miller, Alexander B. 
Miller, Charles A. 
Miller, Emil H. 
Miller, George 
Miller, John H. 
Miller, Julius 
Miller, Leslie W. 

Miller, Nathan 
Miller, Walter Carl 
Mills, Claude A. 
Minor, Joseph Eugene 
Moaklar, Edward J. 
Monahan, Raphael J. 
Monnett, Frederick E. 
Morgan, Clarence 
Morgan, Joseph L. 
Morrell, Arthur E. 
Morrell, Leroy 
Much, Fred Herman 
Mulligan, Francis J. 
Murray, Raymond B. 
Neill, Joseph S. 
Neupert, Walter C. 
Noad, Claude W. 
North, Charles S. 
North, Francis 
North, Henry T. 
J. North, William J. 
North, Patrick W. 
Nutland, Albert 
Obenauf, Ernest 
O'Hara, Hubert L. 
O'Hara, John F. 
Ohls, William L. 
Orlowsky, William B. 
Palozie, Frank 
Pappas, James 
Pennell, Edward F. 
Pero, George E. 
Perzanowski, Joseph 
Philipp, Oscar F. 
Pieniek, Frank 
Pippin, Wilfred 
Pitkat, William 
Pitney, Louis P. 
Playotes, Arestedes 
Poehnert, William 
Polenska, Helen E. 
Polenska, Sophie B. 
Prichard, Francis J. 
Raisch, George F. 
Ransom, Harold F. 
Ransom, Leslie F. 
Rawliners, John H. 
Reed, Elmer L. 
Regan, William F. 
Reichard, Harry 
Reid, Frederick J. 
Reiske, Michael 
Reiser, Frank Arno 
Reuger, Raymond C. 
Rich, George J. 

Richter, William R. 
Rider, George C. 
Robbins, Myron Arthur 
Rosenski, John 
Rubazewicz, Alex. 
Ryan, Stephen J. 
Saba, Michael 
Sadlak, William V. 
St. Louis, Damase 
Scheets, Arthur M. 
Scheets, Walter H. 
Scheibe, Jacob 
Scheibe, John C. 
Scheiner, Robert H. 
Schindler, Ernest A. 
Schlott, Paul O. 
Schmeiske, Rudloph C. 
Schneider, John 
Schneider, William 
Schnering, Conrad 
Schook, Omer 
Schortmann, Albert C. 
Schreiter, Valentine G. 
Schrump, Walter C. 
Schweitzer, Fred J. 
Schweitzer, John W. 
Seibert, John 
Sharp, Herbert E. 
Shea, Thomas C. 
Sherman, Nick I. 
Skibiski, Carl H. 
Skinner, Alden G. 
Skoglund, Ernest L. 
Smith, Charles A. 
Smith, Henry P. 
Smith, Joseph James 
Smith, Louis J. 
Smith, Louis J. 
Smith, William J. 
Spielman, Herbert A. 
Spielman, Walter 
Stachura, Frank J. 
Stankiewicz, Bronislaw 
Stegeman, F. C. 
Stengel, Fred E. 
Stengle, Edward P. 
Stiles, David M. 
Stralkowsky, Charles 
Sucheski, Otto J. 
Sullivan, James M. 
Summer, William A. 
Sweeney, Gertrude E. 
Sweeney, Paul B. 
Swider, Joseph 
Sykes, Elmer H. 




Taft, Philip Henry 
Taylor, George A. 
Taylor, William Sloan 
Thorp, Leon A. 
Thrall, Frederick E. 
Tobin, William J. 
Thrapp, Charles W. 
Thrapp, David 
Trezoglou, Peter 
Trinks, Frederick C. 
Trinks, William H. 
Tuller, Melvin L. 
Turner, Elmer F. 
Ulitach, Henry 
Upham, George 
Usher, Clarence A. 

Wagner, John J. 
Walther, Albert H. 
Waszkiewicz, John 
Weber, Charles Herman 
Weber, Magnus R. 
Webster, Andrew K. 
Webster, Morton J. 
Wetstein, Ralph S. 
Wetstone, Max 
Wheelock, Edward H. 
White, Angelo 
White, Ernest 
White, Joseph A. 
Willis, Alvin 
Winship, Harold S. 
Winter, Albert C. 

Wolfe, George Charles 
Wormstedt, Arthur C. 
Wormstedt, Edward F. 
Wormstedt, William O. 
Wroblewski, Paul 
Yanke, John E. 
Yoreo, Dominic 
Yoreo, Oliver A. 
Yoreo, William 
Young, Charles H. 
Young, Frederick W. 
Young, William A. 
Zatryb, Louis A. 
Zaugg, Ernest A. 
Zeigler, Hugo 


Avery, Leverett 
Bartlett, William 
Bean, Walter 
Benton, Louis E. 
Braude, Samuel H. 
Carney, Arthur J. 
Carroll, Robert E. 
Chapman, David Buell 
Danke, Paul 
Dehuller, Julian 
Dowgiewicz, Paul 
Dunn, John E. 
Elliott, J. Elmer 
Fay, Edward 
Fisk, Leon 
Flechsig, Edward 
Flvnn, William H. 
Friedrich, Henry 
Gilnack, Frank 
Gilanck, Joseph J. 

Grous, John D. 
Grumbach, Louis 
Heller, Otto 
Herig, Edward J. 
Jelinek, Joseph H. 
Kelly, Christopher 
Kynoch, Jean 
LaFlamme, Arthur J. 
Lonsbury, Harold C. 
MacDonald, Alexander 
Mannel, Fred O. 
Marcinowski, Frank P. 
Martin, Lester W. 
Miller James 
Miller, Lewis 
Moore, Joseph 
Murphy, Thomas 
Murray, Francis 
Newman, Frank 
Newmarker, Edward L. 

Newmarker, Frank A. 
O'Keefe, Walter 
Page, Joseph H. 
Peaslee, Arthur 
Pfunder, Charles 
Price, Walter 
Schneider, George L. 
Schrier, William 
Shea, John F. 
Shea, William J. 
Simms, Issac 
Smith, Robert 
Stengle, Edward P. 
Swan, Raymond D. 
Welch, Ray J. 
Wetstone, Murray 
Willis, George 
Woods, Lawrence W. 
Young, Edward 
Young, John F. 


Like every other city and town in the entire country, Rock- 
ville and the Town of Vernon went wild on the afternoon and eve- 
ning of November 7, 1918, when it was reported that the German 
representatives had signed the Allies' terms of armistice which 
meant "Unconditional Surrender." The men and women in the 
mills had scarcely had time to get down to their afternoon's work 
when the bells in the various churches and schools and factories 
began to peal and the mill-whistles to screech. Soon everybody 
had stopped working, the streets were thronged, and the celebra- 
tion had begun, 

Again bonfires, impromptu parades, and singing, and shouting 
were the order of the day. Every American carried a flag. On 
East Main Street the largest bonfire was built, and for hours it 
was replenished by contributions of packing-boxes, crates, wagons, 
and carriages. Fox Hill was also ablaze with a bonfire that was a 
beacon of victory for miles around until far after midnight. Not 
until the wee hours of the morning was the city quiet. It had been 
a wild night of jubilation; but it was only a "rehearsal"! 


Word was received of the German signatures about half past 
three on Monday morning. Mayor Cameron immediately notified 
his committees, and by four o'clock the city was duly awakened. 
At half past four, by the light of the street illuminations, a service 
of praise and thanksgiving was held in Central Park, perhaps the 
most unique religious service ever held in the Town of Vernon. 
The Rev. Mr. Mathison announced the sicmmo; of the Armistice, Mr. 
A. E. Waite conducted the singing of the Doxology. The Rev. 
Father Michael H. May, pastor of St. Bernard's Church, read the 
Scripture lesson, the Rev. Mr. Percy E. Thomas offered the prayer, 
concluding with the Lord's Prayer in which all ferventlv united, 
the Rev. James L. Smith, assistant Pastor of St. Bernard's Church, 
closed the service by requesting all to join in the singing of "Amer- 
ica," and the unprecedented service was at an end! 

The rest of the day was spent in busily arranging for the great 
event of the evening. 

By half past eight, the monster parade, over two miles in 
length and consisting of more than 5,000 people, including everv 
race, creed, color, and element in the town, moved forward to the 
blare of bands in united jubilation that the world was freed of 
militaristic autocracy and of Kaiserism. 



in Honor of Those Who Served in the 
WORLD WAR 1914-1919 

The City of Rockville and the Town of Vernon paid a just 
and dignified honor to their soldier dead on Saturday, May 3, 1919, 
a perfect New England May day. In a parade led by returned 
soldiers and sailors, the State Guard and the Boy Scouts, our Grand 
Army and Spanish War Veterans, thousands of school children, 
members of patriotic and social organizations, and citizens of all 
walks of life, wended their way to the West District School grounds 
for the public exercises, where nineteen Ginkgo trees had already 
been planted and marked with names of Vernon's nineteen soldier 
dead. The trees were planted on Arbor Day, Friday, May 2, under 
the supervision of Horace A. Deal, Miss J. Alice Maxwell's gard- 
ener for many years. 

After Mayor John Cameron's address, the following program 
was carried out: 

Recitation — "Our Hero Dead" Miss Dorothy McNeill 

Flag Drill Pupils, Grammar Grades, East District School 

Song- Liberty Chorus 

Recitation and song — "The Spirit of Arbor Day" 

Pupils, Room 7, St. Bernard's School 

Address — "Our Soldier Dead" Rev. Percy E. Thomas 

Song Liberty Chorus 

Drill and Song. .Pupils, Grammar Grades, West District School 

Address by Hon. Marcus H. Holcomb, Governor of Connecticut 

Song — "America" Sung by Everybody 

Benediction .Rev. M. H. May 

A short concert was given by the Governor's Foot Guard Band 
and the Rockville City Band. Col. Francis J. Regan, on the Staff of 
Governor Holcomb, attended with the entire staff as his guests, 
and headed the parade in one of the biggest events ever held in 
the City. 

Rockville City Band appeared for the first time in new uni- 
forms, donated by Col. Francis J. Regan at a cost of $1,000. 

A resolution of thanks for the purchase and planting of the 
Ginkgo trees was presented by City Clerk John N. Keeney, and was 
heartily adopted by the City Council. 

Following are the names on plaques near the Memorial Trees. 


There are four additional trees without names. 

Private Frank A. Badsteubner- died August 1, 1918 
Private Stanley Dobosz — died April 20, 1918 
Private John T. Kennedy— died November 4, 1918 
Private Harold C. Lounsbury — died April 18, 1918 
Private William B. Orlowsky — died August 15, 1918 
Private John Rosenski — died October 15, 1918 
Private Carl H. Skibiski— died October 14, 1918 
Private William Cahill — died September 24, 1918 
Private Leon Fisk — died January 27, 1918 
Private Benjamin Heller — died October 7, 1918 
Private August Keune — died September 24, 1918 
Private Wm. Kington — died September 18, 1918 
Sergeant John G. Kleindienst — died March 21, 1919 
Private Fred J. Schweitzer — died October 1, 1918 
Private Elmer H. Sykes — died October 11, 1918 
1st Class Private Elmer F. Turner — died February 7, 1919 
Private Alfred G. Berr — died October 8, 1918 


The Ginkgo was introduced into America from China and 
Japan, where it has been grown for centuries in temple gardens. 
It has long been cultivated in northeastern United States as an 
ornamental and shade tree, particularly for street planting. It 
reaches a height of 60 to 80 feet and has a single erect trunk con- 
tinuous into the crown. 

The flowers appear in May; the male and female flowers are 
borne on separate trees. The female flowers develop into a stone 
fruit with a malodorous, fleshy outer layer, which, when the fruit 
falls, makes pavements slippery and disagreeable. For that rea- 
son, only trees that bear male flowers should be planted. In 
autumn the blossoms turn bright vellow and fall from the tree 
within a few days. 

The Ginkgo tolerates unfavorable city conditions, and a wide 
range of soil conditions. It withstands wind and ice storms and is 
free from serious pests. 


After having given consideration to the advisabilitv of form- 
ing an organization of Americans who served in the Army, Navy 
or Marine Corps during the World War, a caucus was held March 


15-17, 1919, in Paris. Tentatively, plans were drawn up and the 
name "American Legion" was adopted. A second caucus was held 
at St. Louis May 6-10, 1919, which was attended by ex-service 
men from most of the States of the United States of America. 

On November 11, 1919, at Minneapolis, the first meeting of the 
American Legion as such was held, and a Constitution adopted. 
In Rockville, Connecticut, a group met to form an organization of 
American veterans of the World War on June 3, 1919. The meeting 
took place in the Town Hall. About fifteen men were present. 
The sentiment prevailed that the local veterans of the World War 
should form an organization, and to conduct its business Martin 
Laubscher, Jr., Edward Newmarker and Thomas Shea were re- 
spectively elected to the offices of President, Vice-President, Sec- 
retary and Treasurer, the last two offices being filled by the same 

At a meeting of the veterans on June 12, 1919, it was decided 
that the local group apply for a charter in the American Legion. 
That was granted by the National Headquarters. It bears July 1, 
1919, as its date, and contains thirty names of the charter members. 
The Post was numbered 14, which shows the relative earliness at 
which the Rockville veterans applied for membership in the Amer- 
ican Legion as a Post. 

The charter was received by Post 14 on September 2, 1919. 
The Post decided on February 10, 1920, to take the name of the 
Post Stanley Dobosz in honor of the first local service man to fall 
in the World War. 

In addition to the relief of needy World War veterans, they 
have placed grave markers on all the graves of deceased World 
War veterans in this locality and they decorate those graves on 
each Decoration Day. They also hang wreaths on the World War 
veterans' memorial trees and the Honor Roll Board on Decoration 
Day and Armistice Day. 

The Grand Army Room in the Town and Memorial Hall is still 
of interest to all patriots. Here on display are relics permitted by 
the government — six Civil War guns, Springfield rifles, two Civil 
War swords and an assortment of Civil War flags. Years ago there 
were three separate records of these souvenirs in the possession of 
the Willeke Brothers, John Henry Yost and Leverett Charter. But 
all the four have passed on, and the records are no more. 

WORLD WAR II (1941-1945) 


( I ) The Japanese attaek at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Decem- 
ber 7, 1941. 

(2) The idea that it was our duty to crush Japanese aggres- 
sion in the Far East and Fascist-Nazi aggression in Europe and 


( 1 ) The Axis Powers were defeated. 

(2) The United Nations Organization was created to pro- 
mote world peace. 



Allard, John L. 
Allard, Napoleon G. 
Allen, Erwin 
Allen, Matthew P. 
Alley, Malcolm R. 
Ambrosi, Bruno E. 
Amende, Clayton 
Amende, Earl 
Andrews, Roland C. 
Andrews, Russell E. 
Archacki, Frank 
Archacki, Peter J. 
Arn, Frederick A. 
Arzt, Kenneth A. 
Arzt, Paul F. 
Ashe, William V. 
Ashland, Edward L. 
Avery, Frederick C. 
Avery, George W. 
Babcock, Frederick H. 
Backofen, Charles G. 
Backofen, Edwin F. 
Backofen, Ernest P. 
Backofen, Frederick H. 
Backofen, Richard A. 
Backofen, W. Alan 
Babsteubner, Arthur F. 
Baer, Karl W. 

Baer, Raymond C. 
Bagnall, Charles, I. 
Baker, Percy W. 
Baker, Peter J., Jr. 
Baldwin, Wilbur J. 
Baran, Joseph F. 
Barbero, Alfred D. 
Barbero, Anne A. 
Barbero, Francis C. 
Barbero, John R. 
*Barrette, Leonard J. 
Barrows, Edward C. 
Barrows, William 
Bartlett, Nelson W. 
Bartley, Raymond J. 
Baskowski, Anthony S. 
Baskowski, Wm. S. 
Bastek, Helen RN 
Bastek, John A. 
Bateman, Walter 
Baxter, Wilfred H. 
Beal, Bruce H. 
Belanger, John H. 
Belanger, Walter J. 
Belleviau, Raymond J. 
Bentley, Bernard A. 
Bentley, James W. 
Berck, Eugene L. 

Berrett, Leon G. 
Berriault, Aldie R. 
Berriault, Edward 
Berriault, Norman 
Berthold, Arthur 
Berthold, Herbert R. 
Berthold, Walter G. 
Beyo, Edmund V. 
Bielak, John J. 
Bielak, Peter P. 
Bielecki, Joseph G. 
Bielecki, Walter 
Bienkowski, Chester A. 
Bik, Russell J. 
Bilow, Alexander 
Binheimer, Russell W. 
Blake, Charles H. 
Blinn, Earl P. 
Bloniarz, Edward C. 
Bloniarz, Frank C. 
Blonstein, Samuel G. 
Blotnicki, Leon J. 
Blotnicki, Valerian S. 
Bochenko, George H. 
Bock, John E., Jr. 
Boleski, Edward P. 
Bonan, Robert A. 
Bond, Raymond 




Booth, John E. 
Boothroyd, Harry W. 
Bordua, Robert E. 
Borkowski. Bruno J. 
Borkowski. Chester W. 
Borkowski, Francis Z, 
Boron, John 
Borst. Ernest 
Boron, Stanley W. 
Borst, Walter 
Bosworth, Emerson H. 
Bouchard, Jerry R. 
^Boucher, Russell 
Brauer, Walter E. 
Brendel, Charleg W., Jr. 
Brenneman, John A., Jr. 
Bretnahan, George J. 
Bresnahan, Edward J. 
Bronowitz, Sol L. 
Bronson, Maurice J. 
Brookes, Leslie 
Brow, Louis A. 
Brown, Edward C. 
Brown, Ernest W. 
Brown, Harvey S. 
Brown, William C. 
Burke, Francis H, M.D. 
Burke. John. Jr. 
Burke, Leonard R. 
Burke, Raymond J. 
Burke, Russell J. 
Bprke, William T. 
Burnett, Richard D. 
Burns, Robert F. 
Burns, William E. 
Buser, Henry D. 
Butler, Henry F. 
Bush, Edward H. 
Byrnes. Edward T. 
Byrnes, John K. 
Byrnes, Frederick W. 
Bvsczvnski. Stanley J. 
*Campbell, Ralph M. 
Capuano, Albert D. 
Carlson, Edwin R. 
Carlson, Richard O. 
Cebula, Frank 
Champ, Oliver C. 
Champ, Victor X. 
Chapdelaine, John L. 
Chapman. Buell I. 
Champman. Harold L. 
Chapman, Norman B. 
Chapman. William R. 
Chase. Robert W. 
Chemistruck, Alice 
Chemistruck, Stephen A 

Chessey. Joseph J. 
Chmielewski, Xorbert 
Chrzanowski, Anthony 
Chrzanowski, Joseph 
Chrzanowski, Stanley H 
Ciechowski, Aloysius 
Ciechowski, Bernard B. 
Ciuchta. William 
Clark, Robert F. 
*Clark, Roy H. 
Coleman, Malcolm G. 
Connors, Edward J. 
Connors, Stephen H. 
CosgTove, William J. 
Coville. Harry W. 
Coville, Lawrence 
Coville, Orrin A. 
Crandall. Bardford S. 
Cratty. Francis H. 
Cratty, George F. 
Cratty, Robert J. 
Cratty. Thomas W. 
Cronkile, Loomis P. 
Curry, Beatrice M. 
Cyrkiewicz, Joseph F. 
Czarnecki, Bronislaw 
Czarnecki. Walter F. 
Czechura. Walter S. 
Czerwinski, Joseph L. 
Dailey. Alice 
Dailey, Catherine B. 
Dailey. Eleanor M. 
Dalla* Corte. Victor J. 
Dancosse, Francis J. 
Dancosse, Wilfred 
Darcey, John C. 
Darcey, Owen A. 
Darico, Andrew, Jr. 
Darico, William M. 
Davies. Erwin R. 
Davis, Erwin E. 
Davis, Roy P. 
Dawkins, Joan 
Dawkins, John C. 
Dawkins, Richard B. 
Dawkins, Thomas H. 
Decohaine, Wilfred 
DeHulla. Donald R. 
:: 'DelBene, Eugene J. 
DelBene, Francis J. 
DelBene. Howard J. 
Denley, Donald F. 
Denley, Ralph H. 
Denson, Gordon A. 
DePellegrini. Jeanne M. 
DePellegrini, Wm. C. 
. Deptula, John M. 

Deptula. Lawrence S. 
Devlin, Elizabeth M. 
Devlin, James F. 
Dick. James W. 
Dintsch, Edward M. 
Dobosz. Anthony P. 
Dobosz, Frank L. 
Dobosz, John A. 
Dobosz, Peter J. 
*Doherty. Joseph A. 
Doherty. Joshua L. 
Domain, Donald A. 
Dombek, Edward J. 
Doss, Philip G. 
Dowding. Kenneth W., Jr. 
Dowgiewicz, Anthony S. 
Dowgiewicz, Leonard P. 
Dowhan. Wesley P. 
Downes. William M. 
Dunfield, Robert E. 
Dunn, Carlton W. 
Dureiko. Francis 
Edmondo, Peter A. 
Edmondson. James V. 
Edwards, Arthur E. 
Edwards, Irvin E. 
Edwards, Thomas W. 
Edwards, Walter F. 
Einsiedel, Elwin G. 
Elderkin, George D. 
Ellsworth, Betty R. 
Ellsworth, Robert M. 
Erismann, Ernest E. 
Erismann, Erwin L. 
Erismann, Walter H. 
Ertel, Joseph F. 
Ertel, Thomas 
*Ertel, Vincent G. 
Ertel. William C Jr. 
Pagan, Wayne R. 
Fahey, Edmund R. 
^ahey, James R. 
Fahey, James W., Jr. 
Fahey. Raphael D. 
Farr. Henrv A. 
Farr, Lawrence 
Fayey, Raymond C. 
Farrell, Robert B. 
Fecteau, Oscar A. 
Felden, Erwin C. 
Ferguson. Roy C, Jr. 
Ferreri. Louis 
Fetko. Joseph F. 
Filip, Charles J. 
Filip, Francis C. 
Finley, Clarence W. 
Finley, Clarence W., Jr. 



Fisher, Arthur E. 
Fisk, Douglas H. 
Flaherty, Leo B. 
Flamm, Wilton E. 
Fleischer, Kenneth M. 
Fleischer, Norman P. 
Fleischer, Raymond W. 
Foley, Frederick J., Jr. 
Forbes, Franklin B., Jr. 
Forster, George B. 
Fox, William G. 
Francis, Warren C. 
Francis, Wilfred 
Frey, Leo J. 
Friedrich, Gordon 
Friedrich, Herbert H. 
Futoma, Edward A. 
Futoma, Francis S. 
Gakeler, George H. 
Garneski, Stephen 
Genovesi, Carlo 
Gerber, Emanuel C. 
Gerber, Ralph E. 
Gessay, Andrew J. 
Gessay. A. L.. D.D.S. 
Gessay, Charles M. 
Gessay, Emil J. 
Gessay, Frederick F. 
Gessay, Francis J. 
Gessay, Louis H., M.D. 
Gessay, Stephen S. 
Gessay, Thomas E. 
Giglio, Harry E. 
Gill, Edward' B. 
Gill, Louis W. 
Gill, Stanley A. 
Gillich, Ferdinand 
Gillich, Genevieve B. 
Gillich, John 
Glaeser, Alfred W. 
Glass, George W. 
Gleason. James H. 
Godomski, Josephus J. 
Golemba, Leonard F. 
Golemba, Joseph 
Golemba, Stanley. Jr. 
Gollmitzer, John R. 
Gollmitzer. Joseph F. 
Goodrich, Gerald 
Gorczynski. Raymond A. 
Godzdz. Zigmund 
Graczyk, Henry 
Graczyk. Joseph 
Graczyk. Theodore W. 
Graczyk. Walter 
Graczvk. William. Jr. 
Graf. Carl W. 

Grant, Harold W. 
Green, Arthur P. 
Green, George S. 
Green, Raymond W. 
Gregel, Emil J. 
Gregus, George 
Gregus, Robert J. 
Griffin, Joseph F. 
Groleau, Edward 
Gronski. Chester S. 
Grous, Bernard 
Grous, Leo A. 
Grous, Rudolph 
Gruenig, Paul 
Grumbach. Robert 
Guidotti, Alfred E. 
Guidotti, Richard C. 
Gunn. Edgar F. 
Gunn, Xeal M.. Jr. 
Guzowski. Alfred 
Gworek, Edward F. 
Gworek, Joseph P. 
Gworek. Richard J. 
Halchek. Stephen 
Halloran, John M. 
Hamm, Edward G. 
Hansen. Harry 
Harding. Frederick F. 
Harris, Richard L. 
Harris, Robert F. 
Harrison, Samuel G. 
Hartmann. George X. 
Hartmann. Raymond F. 
Hartmann. Russell G. 
Hebenstreit. Clarence M. 
Hebenstreit. Joseph A. 
Hebenstreit, William L. 
Heck. Clarence K. 
Heer, Edward G. 
Heffron. John F. 
Heintz. Charles E.. Jr. 
Hewitt. Frederick H. 
Hewitt. Frank A. 
Hewitt, Frank H. 
Hicton. William J. 
Hietela. Theodore A. 
Hill. Harry G. 
Hiller. Russell J. 
Hirth. Charles E. 
Hirth. Theodore A. 
Hirth. Warren C. 
Hoffman. Karl P. 
Holman. Robert H. 
Hopkins. Edwin W. 
Hopowicz. Chester 
Hosmer. Paul R. 
Howard. Chester E. 

Howard, Ernest M. 

Hudson, Henry L. 
-Hunniford, William, Jr. 
Hyjek. Edwin R. 
Hyjek. Rudolph 
Hyjek, Stanley J.. D.D.S. 
Idziak, John C. 
Irmischer, Oscar E. 
Ivanicki, Anthony 
Ivanicki, Edwin 
Jacobs, Horace 
Jakiel, John S. 
Jalbert, Xorman M. 
Janton, Edward H. 
Janton, Edward X. 

* Janton, John J. 
Jasek, Stephen 
Jasion, Chester 
Jasion, Francis 
Jasion, Louis B. 
Jelinek, Xorman E. 
Jesanis. Edward 
Johndrow, George H. 
Johndrow, Harold F. 
Johndrow, W. W.. Jr. 
Jones. Walter E. 
Jones, William W. 
Jordan. Robert W. 
Joyce, Harold L. 
Joyce, James L. 
Judge. Alfred J.. Jr. 
Kadelski. Joseph 
Kadelski. Matthew 
Kadelski. Stephen 
Kadelski. Vincent 
Kahan. Robert S. 
Kaminski. Henry J. 

* Kaminski. John A. 
Kaminski. Maximilian 
Kaminski. Xicodem 
Kanski. Casimer M. 
Kanski. Francis A. 
Karkevich. Peter A. 
Kauppik, Jerome F. 
Kawalec. John 
Kawalec. Stanley F. 
Kayan. Edward J. 
Kayan. Steven P. 
Keeping. Douglas L. 
Keller. Clinton E. 
Kellner. Earl 
Kellner. Erich A. 
Kemble. Lester R. 
Kent. George E. 
Kernan. Thomas 
Ketcham. Stephen E. 
Kidnev. Marshall J. 



King, Robert J. 
Kington, Ellery G. 
Kita, Joseph 
Klatt, Otto 
Kleczowski, Albert 
Kleczkowski, Stanley F. 
Gleczkowski, William 
Klette, Immanuel J. 
Klette, Vernon C. 
Kloter, Edward G. 
Kloter, Ernest B. 
Kloter, Nole R. 
Kloter, Russell R. 
Knight, Clifford B., Jr. 
Knybel, Stanislaus A. 
Knybel, Tony J. 
Knybel, Walter W. 
Koch, Arthur M. 
Koch, Clarence F. 
Kocher, William W. 
Koschwitz, Alexander H. 
Koschwitz, Carl F. 
Koslowski, Stanley A. 
Kowalewski, Joseph 
Kozskowski, John 
Kozlowski, Adam 
Kozlowski, Chester 
Kozlowski, Walter J. 
Krajewski, Henry M. 
Krajewski, Herman A. 
Krajewski, John S. 
Kramer, John L. 
Kratzke, Russell H. 
Krause, Earl H. 
Krivsky, William A. 
Krochenko, Arthur 
Krupa, Frank G. 
Kubasek, Edward J. 
Kubasek, Steve A. 
Kubik, Walter 
Kuch, Joseph A. 
Kuchenski, Anthony K. 
Kucz, John A., Jr. 
Kuhnly, Kenneth W. 
Kuhnke, Herbert L. 
Kulick, George L. 
Kulick, John F. 
Kulo, Edward T. 
Kulo, Edwin W. 
Kulo, Frank 
Kulo, John F. 
Kunicki, Michael 
Kunicki, Raymond 
Kunicki, Stanley 
Labots, William A. 
LaCrosse, Felix F. 
LaCrosse, Francis J. 

Lambert, Maxwell, Jr. 
LaMothe, Rene A. 
LaMothe, Wilfred F. 
Lanz, Elmer P. 
Lanz, Howard E. 
Lanz, Otto E. 
Lapointe, Gerard N. 
Larson, Bernard W. 
Lathrop, James F. 
Lavallee, Ernest H. 
Lavoie, Henry J. 
Layman, Cecelia 
Layman, Louis 
Lebeshevsky, Saul H. 
LeBlond, Joseph P. 
Lee, Christopher W. 
Lee, Emil 
*Lee, Herbert F. 
Lee, Raymond C. 
Legge, Wilbur H. 
Lehrmitt, Donald 
Lehrmitt, Edwin 
Lehrmitt, Raymond C. 
Lemek, Chester 
Lemek, Frank T. 
Lemek, John 
Lemek, Stanley J. 
Lemek, Valerian J. 
Lemieux, Arthur H. 
Lentocha, Bernard F. 
Lentocha, Edward A. 
Lentocha, George V. 
Lentocha, John L. 
Lentocha, Leonard R. 
Lessig, Carlton F. 
Lessig, Edwin F. 
Lessig, Robert A. 
Lewis, Frederick R. 
Lebsch, Joseph F. 
Lippmann, Robert E. 
Lisk, Burton R. 
Lisk, Carleton N. 
Lisk, Kerwin O. 
Lisk, Wilton A. 
Liszewski, Edwin F. 
Liszewski, Emil F. 
Little, Francis H. 
Little, Herbert 
Little, Sterling F. 
Loalbo, Edward 
Loalbo, John M. 
Long, Sterling 
Loos, William 
Lotas, John C. 
Lotas, Thomas 
Loverin, Donald B. 
Loverin, Robert P. 

Luba, Joseph L. 
Luddecke, William F. 
Ludwig, Raymond A. 
Luetjen, Harold F. 
Luetjen, Herman M. 
Luffman, Clifford J. 
Lugg, Harry H. 
Lukasiewski, Nick S. 
Lukasiewski, Steve B. 
Lukeman, Joseph F. 
Lukowski, Vincent J. 
Lusa, Bruno 
Lusa, Peter J. 
Luszczki, Stanley M. 
Machowski, Frederick J. 
Machowski, Raymond J. 
Mack, Francis L. 
Mack, John C. 
Madden, James M. 
Magdefrau, Edmund A. 
Maguire, Earl J. 
Mahr, Frederick P. 
Mahr, Mary J., RN 
Mallon, John P. 
Mallon, William F. 
Mamuszka, Edward S. 
Manchuck, Leonard J. 
Markham, Wilber W. 
Marley, James T., Jr. 
Marley, William P. 
Marquis, Louis S. 
Masichuk, Harry 
Mathewson, Clifford W. 
Mattis, Bruno M. 
Mattis, Edward J. 
Mattis, Francis J. 
Mattis, John 
Matyia, Stanley C. 
May, Guerino G. 
Mayo, Arthur E. 
Mayer, Ernest J. 
McCarthy, Charles C. 
McCarthy, James A. 
McCormick, George M. 
McCusker, Joseph A. 
McDonald, Elmer 
*McDonald, John T. 
McFarlane, Henry J. 
McGowan, James W. 
McLaughlin, Edwin C. 
McLaughlin, Francis E. 
McLaughlin, Harold 
McLaughlin, Henry 
McLaughlin, Richard L. 
McMann, Edgar 
McNulty, John 
:|: McNulty, James 



Meacham, Fred W. 
*Meacham, Raymond E. 
Mead, Harry B. 
Meade, Kenneth J. 
Meade, Russell C. 
Meader, Ray L. 
Melesko, Edward V. 
Melesko, John 
Menge, Carleton P. 
Menge, Luther P. 
Merk, Randall 
Mertan, Andrew P. 
Mertan, George D. 
Merz, Raymond S. 
Miffitt, Albert 
Miffitt, Arthur E. 
Miffitt, Joseph F. 
*Mikalonis, Alphonse R. 
^Milanese, Clarence W. 
Milanese, Carlton H. 
Miller, Alfonso J. 
Miller, Donald J. 
Miller, Harry A. 
Miller, Irwin 
Miller, Max R. 
Miller, Walter J. 
-Miller, William M. 
Mills, David S. 
Milunus, Francis J. 
Miner, Clarence E. 
Miner, Lewis W. 
Minor, Henry S. 
Misailko, Alexander 
Misaiko, Frank 
Mitchell, William L. 
Mlodzinski, Matthew S. 
Mlodzinski, Thaddeus F. 
Managhan, Charles R. 
Managhan, Clifton 
Managhan, Lawrence. 
Moore, William R., Jr. 
Morin, Edmond, Jr. 
Moyer, Robert M. 
Mulka, Charles 
Murach, John S. 
Murphy, Eleanor 
Murphy, Henry R. 
Murphy, Joseph D. 
Murphy, Robert D. 
Murphy, Thomas J. 
Murphy, Walter J. 
Murray, Charles W. 
Naughton, Patrick 
Neff, Donald K. 
Neff, Donald R. 
Neill, Gifford W. 
Nelson, Ernest E. 

Neri, Libero 
Neumann, Wilbur D. 
Neupert, Elmer H. 
Newell, Everett L. 
Newell, Robert C. 
Nicewicz, Chester J. 
Nielsen, Lester 
Nielsen, Theodore M. 
Niese, Leonard C. 
Niese, Raymond C. 
Niewinski, Felix J., Jr. 
Norkon, Albert 
North, Robert F. 
Novak, Frank 
Novak, Joseph S. 
Novak, Stanley P. 
Nowak, Alfred S. 
Nutland, Robert E. 
O'Brien, James W. 
Oleksinski, William 
Olender, Joseph B. 
Olesik, Emil W. 
Olesik, Michael W. 
Olesik, Stephen A. 
Oliva, Joseph 
Oliver, Edward P. 
Oliver, Stephen 
Oik, Leon E. 
Oik, Theodore S. 
O'Loughlin, John J. 
Orlowski, Aloysius J. 
Orlowski, Frederick 
Orlowski, John F. 
Orlowski, John J. 
Orlowski, Louis A. 
Orlowski, Mitchell J. 
Ortyl, Francis J. 
Ortyl, Stanley J. 
Ortyl, Walter N. 
Ortyl, William M. 
Ostien, Harry E. 
Ostrout, Robert E. 
Otto, Wilbur W. 
Padegimas, Charles F. 
Paluska, Earl W. 
Pasternak, Alexander R. 
Pasternak, Carl F. 
Pawelski, Clarence B. 
Pawluk, Nicholas 
Peck, Raymond J. 
Perotti, Peter 
Perzanowski, Mary. RN 
Perzanowski, John S. 
Pestritto, Constance M. 
Pfau, Frederick 
Phelps, Harry J. 
Phillipp, Allen O. 

Phillipp, Francis 
Phillips, Anthony T. 
Phillips, Edward J. 
Phillips, Francis E. 
Phillips, John S. 
Pichette, Albert 
Pichette, John 
Pichette, Louis J. 
Pierre, Clarence R. 
Pierre, Eudore A. J. 
Pierce, Robert R. 
Pigeon, Robert J. 
Pinney, Harry W. 
Piorek, Henry F. 
Pitkat, Charles A. 
Pitkat, Everett C. 
Pitkat, Francis J. 
Pitkat, Frederick T. 
Pitts, Arthur J. 
Pliska, William L. 
Plummer, Harriet, RN 
Plummer, Mary 
Plummer, Willard N. 
Pitkat, Edward A. 
Poehnert, Donald G. 
Poehnert, W. Edward 
Polinski, Theodore 
Pollio, Seraphen 
Popick, Stephen M. 
Poreda, Theodore J. 
Prachniak, Chester W. 
Prachniak, Edward 
Prachniak, Joseph 
Prachniak, Stanislaw 
Pratt, John L. 
Pratt, Robert J. 
Pray, George R. 
Prelle, Charles E. 
Prentice, Ernest 
Prentice, John 
Prentiss, Elmer 
Pruess, Norman J. 
Pruess, William J. 
Prokop, Paul H. 
Prutting, Robert D. 
Prutting, William C. 
Pschichholtz, Raymond C. 
Purnell, Ernest S. 
Purnell, Kerwin F. 
Purnell, Nelson K. 
Raczkowski, Henry J. 
Rady, John J . 
Rankin, Robert W. 
Rankin, Walter J. 
Rau, Calvin 
Rau, Frank W., Jr. 
Ray, Andrew 



Ray, Frederick 
Read, Truman W. 
Regan, Herbert J. 
Regan, Thomas, Jr. 
Regan, Walter C. 
Reiske, Donald 
Reiske, William 
Remkiewicz, Frank 
Remkiewicz, Jerome S. 
Remkiewicz, Leo J. 
Remkiewicz, Mitchell J. 
Reudgen, William F. 
Reynolds, R. Lewis 
Reynolds, Warren 
Rice, William E. 
Rich, Madeline, RN 
Richter, William R. 
Richard, Donald E. 
Richard, John, Jr. 
Rivenburg, Edward 
Rivenburg, Warren 
Rizy, John 
Rizy, Frank 
Rizy, William 
Robb, Edward J. 
Robb, Ralph H. 
Robidas, Roland A. 
Robinson, Samuel E. 
Rock, Gerard J. 
Rodvan, Paul 
Rogelus, Michael J. 
Roman, Peter R. 
Romeo, John 
Ronan, Edward E., Jr. 
Rondeau, Olin G. 
Rosenberg, Alfred J. 
Rosinski, Casimir A. 
Rowe, Leon L. 
Roy, Raymond R. 
Royal, Leslie O. 
Ryan, Howard 
Ryan, Leroy G. 
Sadlak, Antoni 
Sadlak, Francis X. 
Sadlak, Maximillian 
Saternis, Michael L. 
Satryb, Arthur B. 
Satryb, William T. 
Savitski, Serge P. 
Schaeffer, Burton 
Schaeffer, Charles W. 
Schaeffer, Earl R. 
Schaeffer, Gordon K. 
Scheiner, Herbert L. 
Scherwitzky, Marjorie 
Scheuy, Allen E. 
Scheuy, Norman B. 

Schindler, Earl F. 
Schlott, Frederick F. 
Schmalz, Arthur H. 
Schneider, Albert J. 
Schneider, Elmer W. 
Schneider, Ernest G. 
Schneider, Norman R. 
Schneider, Walter C. 
Schneider, William, MD 
Schortmann, John E. 
Schortmann, Richard C. 
!|: Schrumpf, Raymond, Jr 
Schub, Walter 
Schumey, John E. 
Scibek, Edward 
Scibek, Stanislaw 
Scibek, Stephen K. 
Scibek, William 
Sears, Roland C. 
Seifert, Raymond A. 
Sessions, Robert F. 
Shapera, Harry A. 
Shapera, Jacob, DDS 
Sharp, Herbert E. 
Shea, John D. 
Sherburne, Carleton D. 
Sherman, Kenneth B. 
Sherman, Roberts 
*Siedlik, Frank J. 
Siedlik, Stanley 
Siegel, Herman S. 
Sierakowski, Francis J. 
Sierakowski, Walter J. 
Silhavy, Ernest T. 
Silhavy, Henry E. 
Silhavy, Louis J. 
Skibiski, Emmanuel F. 
Skinner, Donald 
Skinner, G. Nelson 
Skinner, Leroy B. 
Sklodosky, Chester M. 
Skoglund, Ernest L., Jr. 
Skoglund, Leonard E. 
Skoglianik, Stephen T. 
Smiraglia, Paul S. 
Smith, Donald E. 
Smith, Edmund C. 
Smith, Russell D. 
Smith, William F. 
Snadel, Edward F. 
Snell, John J., Jr. 
Snyder, John F., Jr. 
So.ika, Edmund S. 
Sojka, Stephen 
Soika, William, Jr. 
Sokolowski, Matthew 
Southwick, Lawrence O. 

Spencer, Rexford P. 
Spieker, Samuel A. 
Spiller, Herbert W. 
Squires, Russell J. 
Staklinski, Charles J. 
Starke, William C. 
Stawarz, Edmund J. 
Stegeman, Lynwood 
Stein, Arthur P. 
Stephenson, William H. 
Stephenson, James 
Stephen, John J. 
Steppe, Charles F. 
Steppe, Joseph W. 
Steppen, Charles 
Sternal, Anthony J. 
Sternal, John M. 
Stiles, William E. 
Stone, Elmer E. 
Stoneman, George C. 
Strycharz, Bernard M. 
Strycharz, Joseph 
Strycharz, Thomas S. 
St. Louis, Richard J. 
St. Louis, Wilfred H. 
Sullivan, Chester 
* Sullivan, Clarence J. 
*Sunega, Edward F. 
Sunega, Joseph T. 
Surdell, Edwin J. 
Sutyla, Frank P. 
Sutyla, Leon 
Sweatland, George W. 
Sweatland, Gilbert P. 
Sweatland, John 
Swiderski, Edward 
Synal, Francis T., Jr. 
Szalontai, Daniel S. 
Szarek, Thaddeus S. 
Szvnal, Andrew J. 
Szynal, Edward 
Szynal, John W. 
Szynal, Joseph 
Talcott, John G., Jr. 
Tansey, William E. 
Tarasek, Stanley E. 
Taylor, Alan B. 
Taylor, Woodrow 
Terrill, Vincent R. 
Thayer, Winslow B. 
Thompson, Alberti 
Thrall, Charles M. 
Thrall, Wallace H. 
Tobin, Raymond S. 
Tobin, William S. 
Tomasek, Francis J. 
Tomasek, Frederick J. 


Tomko, Andrew J. 
Tompkins, Louis F. 
Tourtellot, Carl D. 
Trapp, Charles, Jr. 
Trapp, George A. 
Troughton, Margaret I. 
Trouton, Luther F. 
Tucker, Reuben 
Tucker, Thomas 
Tupper, Bion P. 
Turner, James S. 
Turner, John G. 
Tyler, Nelson E. 
Tyler, Ralph 
Uhlman, Henry W. 
:| Underwood, Robert C. 
Usher, Alvin J. 
Usher, Charles E. 
Usher, Robert 
Uziemblo, Edward 
Vietts, John 
Vincent, Robert 
Virth, John 
Visius, John 
Wagenett, Frank 
Waite, Allen H. 
Waite, Robert E. 
Wandzy, Edward W. 
Williams, Robert C. 
Wandzy, John J. 
Wandzy, Leon S. 
Wandzy, Walter 
Wasilefsky, Anthony G. 
Webb, Richard L. 
Weber, Clarence 
Weber, Clayton H. 
Weber, Edward L. 

Weber, Edward R. 
Weber, Gilbert C. 
Weber, Norman A. 
Weber, William H. 
Weber, William R. 
Welles, Gordon 
Welles, James W. 
Wells, Gordon F. 
Welti, Clarence W. 
Welz, Henry A., Jr. 
Welz, William F. 
Wendheiser, Francis N. 
Wendus, Edward 
Werkhoven, Hylke 
Werkhoven, Theunis 
West, Helen K. 
West, Herbert A. 
West, Horace E. 
West, Thomas W. 
Wheelock, Edward 
Whelan, Charles 
Whelan, Raymond A. 
White, William E. 
Wicykowski, Edward F 
Wieliczka, Francis A. 
Wieliczka, Kasimer J. 
Wieliczka, Stanley T. 
Wierzchowski, John J. 
Willeke, Charles J. 
Wilhelm, Edwin J. 
Williams, Burton P. 
Williams, Louis 
Willey, Henry F. 
Willis, Clifford 
Willis, Edward 
Wilson, Clarence 
Wilson, Elmer H. 

Wilson, Elmer H. 
Winter, Conrad E. 
Wirtella, Edwin W. 
Wise, Roland 
Wisnieski, Stanley J. 
Wnuk, Andrew 
Wnuk, Valer J. 
Wocel, Frank L. 
Wohellebe, Raymond G 
Wojnar, John W. 
Wojtach, Walter A. 
Wolfersdorf, Oscar M. 
Wrona, Francis J. 
Wrona, Marion J. 
Wrona, William J. 
*Yanishewsky, John B. 
*Yanishewsky, Terry 
Yoreo, James A. 
*Yost, Byron P. 
Yost, John H., Jr. 
Yost, Walter 
Zadorozny, Edward 
Zagora, Bruno A. 
Zagura, Joseph L. 
Zagura, Louis J. 
Zaresky, Alexander 
Zashut, Henry B. 
Zbyk, Anthony J. 
Zbyk, Francis 
*Ziebarth, Frank E. 
Ziegler, John A. 
Ziegler, Richard T. 
Ziemfca, Casimer J. 
Ziemba, Ladimer W. 
*Zuraw, Edward 
Zuraw, Henry F. 
Zwingelstein, Louis 


Many women served actively with the Armed Forces of this 
Country, the WAACS, the W AVES, the WOWS and the WAFS as 
well as the nurses commissioned as officers, all of whom did work 
formerly done in wars by the Army and Navy. Thev endured the 
same hardships and served with the same distinction as their 

There were other women working side by side with men in 
the defense plants, doing heavy work and work calling for s^eat 

Others found their place in Civilian Defense as air raid ward- 
ens, plane spotters, workers at report centers, first aid specialists. 


home nurses, motor corps drivers, makers of surgical dressings and 
sellers of war stamps and bonds. 

Some found it impossible to do anything outside their homes, 
but there they maintained the health of their families cooking 
nourishing meals with the food available. 


The Rockville Lodge of Elks is 100% American. 

From the time the matter of Civilian Defense first started, 
they showed themselves more than ready and willing to cooperate 
with the officials entrusted with the safety of the community. 

They offered the use of their library on the northwest corner 
of the club for a control room, an ideal place for men and women 
who volunteered or were drafted to do this work which was so 
essential. Heat and light were supplied by the Elks, something 
which might otherwise have proved to be a great expense to the 
town and city. In other surroundings, the two hours which were 
what most individuals put in during the week might have been 
much more unpleasant. 

Still another room was given up by the Club, this time to the 
Red Cross for a room in which surgical dressings were to be made, 
and the community was grateful. Surgical dressings can not be 
made in any place. This room was used two or three days a week. 


VE Day, long awaited by millions, came at last on Tuesday, 
May 8, 1945, and one phase of the global war which since Septem- 
ber 1, 1939, had affected every corner of the world, came to a 

The surrender of Germany was brought about by the greatest 
cooperative effort the world has ever known. Every land, includ- 
ing Russia and the United States joined forces with one common 
purpose — to bring about the defeat of the Nazis, who, ever since 
Hitler's accession to power in 1933 had been bent on conquest. 
In accomplishing this purpose, the Big Three had invaluable aid 
from the underground movements in the conquered countries. Not 
powerful enough to carry on the fight against the enemy with arms, 
these countries nevertheless had a spirit which could not be 


There have been many dark days since the war began, days 

when it took courage to believe that the mighty war machine <<! 
the Reich could ever be stopped. Probably the blackest clay on 
the Western Front came in May, 1910, at Dunkirque. Never were 
the Nazis so near victory as then. There were other dark moments 
afterward, even as late as December 16 of that year, when those 
at home wondered anxiously just how much the German "Break 
through" meant. 

The costs of this victory were terrific. Whole cities, one might 
almost say whole countries, were laid waste. It was total war. 
Buildings, bridges, and cities can be rebuilt in time. What can 
never be replaced is human lives, both military and civilian. This 
is the greatest tragedy of all. 

The defeat of Germany was absolute. Unconditional surren- 
der was what was asked, and unconditional surrender was what 
was obtained, not just to the United States and England, but also 
to Russia. Total war became total victory. 

Joy over V-E Day in the United States was tempered by the 
realization that there was still a major war to be won against an- 
other ruthless enemy, Japan. Not until this enemy had been con- 
quered was a real celebration justified. Peace in the Pacific as 
well as in Europe. 

History has a way of repeating itself. Remember 1918, there 
was a premature observance of the armistice, with the official day 
coming about four days later. 

Twenty-seven years later, on Saturday, April 28, a rumor of 
Germany's surrender spread and the Times Square in New York 
was filled with excited people. Negotiations were in progress, but 
about nine days elapsed between rumor and actuality. 

The Armistice in 1918 came as a surprise, whereas V-E Day 
had been anticipated for several weeks. 

Woodrow Wilson, President during World War I, was able to 
join in the rejoicing at its conclusion. To President Franklin D. 
Roosevelt, during World War II, death came less than four weeks 
before Germany's unconditional surrender. 


On Tuesday, August 14, 1945, at 7 p.m. when the first sen- 
tence of the broadcast from Washington came over the radio, auto- 
mobile horns started blowing in the center of the citw to be joined 


shortly by the fire whistle, sirens, mill whistles and church bells. 
Crowds began to gatiier in increasing; numbers, while automobiles, 
already decorated and with horns blowing madly, rushed around. 
Flags were collected and stores that were open did a rushing busi- 
ness in confetti and noisemakers. Most stores closed immediately. 

When the news first came, the City Council was holding a reg- 
ular meeting, and had probably the briefest session in its history, 
after which the Mayor, members of the Council and reporters 
rushed into the Police Office to hear the announcement. 

The parade got under way after dark. At the head came a 
band made up of local musicians from yarious organizations. Next 
came servicemen home on furlough and veterans of World War II. 
Then came Co. C State Guard, the American Legion and Auxiliary, 
the Elks carrying red torches, the firemen and fire apparatus. Bov 
and Girl Scouts, the Red Men and Pocahontas, groups from the 
Red Cross, including a large number of Nurses' Aides, boys and 
girls from local schools. 

After the marchers came automobiles and trucks. A big bon- 
fire was started on grounds at the Recreation Center. The cele- 
bration ended about 2 A.M. It was a celebration to be remem- 
bered. Everybody had been looking forward to it for three years, 
eight months and eight days. 


The Honor Roll was dedicated Sunday afternoon, March 7, 
1943. The Town of Vernon was proud. It was a worthy symbol 
of the services which those whose names are inscribed upon it 
gave to their town, their state and their country. 

The gathering of necessary information before even a start 
could be made represented hours of painstaking work and investi- 
gation on the part of the Committee, especially the secretary, Mrs. 
Mae D. Chapman. It was necessarv to secure a comprehensive 
list of names. 

The dav of the dedication was not ideal. George Milne had 
the space cleared of snow. 

The Honor Roll will linger long in memory. Dedication Serv- 
ices were held in Central Park with Governor Baldwin as main 
speaker. He urged all his listeners to plant war gardens, think about 
next winter, and stimulate the production of food, thus helping 
rationing. Governor Baldwin said, "Every man, woman and child 


in the community should be able to say about the war effort, 'I 
am taking a part. I am helping.' " ( Raymond E. Baldwin ) 

Gun Captain John Laboc spoke. The exercises were held 
around the Honor Roll Board with more than 500 people pres- 
ent. The 79th Coast Artillery Band played marches preceding ex- 
ercises opened at 3 p.m. by Chairman of the Vernon Defense Coun- 
cil George S. Brookes. First Selectman Ernest Schindler and Mayor 
Raymond E. Hunt were introduced and the latter presided over 
the rest of the program. 

The invocation was given by Rev. Eugene Solega, assistant 
pastor of St. Joseph's Church. 

Gun Captain John Laboc, honorably discharged from service 
in the Navy following injuries received in the battle of the Solo- 
mons, said that we at home are unmolested because these men are 
out fighting and dying for us. American youth saw to it that the 
Solomons were a victoiy for us and will see to it that Europe is a 
victory for us also. He spoke of his brother who died a hero's 

The Honor Roll was dedicated by Past Department Adjutant 
William C. Murray of Hartford. The Honor Roll then had 559 
names upon it and three gold stars, these latter opposite the names 
of Vincent Ertel, Russell Boucher, and William Miller. Only those 
whose legal residence is in the town of Vernon were included 
among the names. 

The ceremonies concluded with the benediction by Rev. H. B. 
Olmstead, rector of St. John's Episcopal Church. 


Although many of the boys' names enrolled in the Armed 
Forces were on the Town Honor Roll in Central Park, the residents 
of West End felt they wanted to honor their own. In the small 
park at the intersection of Windsor Avenue and Union, they put 
their honor roll. 



Barrette, Leonard J. Delbene, Eugene J. Kaminski, John A. 

Beyer, Heinz P. Doherty, Joseph A. Lee, Herbert F. 

Boucher, Russell Ertel, Vincent G. McDonald, John T. 

Campbell, Ralph M. Hunniford, William J. McNulty, James 

Clark, Roy H. Janton, John J. Meacham, Raymond E. 


Mikalonis, Alphonse B. Siedlik, Frank J. Yanishewsky, Terry 

Milanese, Clarence W. Sullivan, Clarence J. Yost, Byron P. 

Miller, William M. Underwood, Robert C. Ziebarth, Frank E. 

Schrumpf, Raymond, Jr. Yanishewsky, John B. Zuraw, Edward 



The Town of Vernon Honor Rail which stood on the south 
side of Central Park since the early days of World War II was 
taken down and replaced by a permanent memorial of stone. It 
did not carry a list of names, but had an appropriate inscription. 
The passing years had completely ruined the appearance of the 
older one. 

The new Honor Roll "in honor and memory of the men and 
women of the Town of Vernon who so gallantly served their coun- 
try in World Wars" was dedicated quietly and reverently on Satur- 
day afternoon, February 24, 1951, in Central Park. 

Taps were sounded by Max Kabrick and Roy Kabrick. Rev. 
Forrest Musser, pastor of Union Congregational Church, gave an 
appropriate address. Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, pastor of St. Bern- 
ard's Catholic Church, pronounced the benediction, which prayer 
concluded the dedicatory exercises. 


The dedication of the War Memorial Tower on Fox Hill took 
place on a beautiful Saturday, August 5, 1939. This tower is dedi- 
cated to the Veterans of all wars from the Town of Vernon, and 
with the magnificent promenade cost approximately $75,000. The 
Work Projects Administration supplied the labor and materials, 
and the town, city and individuals contributed. 

The design of the tower was suggested in part by an ancient 
Romanesque Church in France, near Poitiers. Founded nearly a 
thousand years before Columbus discovered America, it was old 
when the English, led by Edward the Black Prince, won their 
famous battle with the French in 1356 on the plains nearby. 

The architect of the tower stated: "When I sketched it some 
years ago the old church was as vigorous as ever." 

Fox Hill, located in Henry Park, was bequeathed to the city by 
E. Stevens Henry. 





Music on the Carillon Bells of Union Church at 2 P.M. and 3 P.M. 
Mrs. Doris Tennstedt Lutz, Carilloneur 

Opening Selections by the American Legion Band 

Singing of America by the audience 

Invocation — Rev. Fred Errington, 

Department Chaplain of the American Legion 

Dedication of Flags by Stanley Dobosz Post No. 14 American 

Address by His Excellency the Governor Raymond Baldwin 

Chorus by the Gesang and Declamation Soicety 

Dr. George S. Brookes, chairman of the War Memorial Com- 
mittee, presented the keys of the tower 

Acceptance Speeches by Selectman George C. Scheets represent- 
ing the Town and Claude Mills, Mayor, representing the City 

Remarks by Vincent Sullivan, the local WPA administrator 

Walter B. Chambers of New York, architect. 

Bernard J. Ackerman introduced speakers. 

Rev. J. Arthur Edwards, benediction 

The War Memorial Tower is 72 feet high, has a promenade 
220 feet Ions: and its foundation rests on solid rock. Work on the 
tower was started two years before completing. Native stone was 
used in its construction. There is an observation platform near 
the top of the tower. 

Bronze tablets bearing the names and also suitable inscrip- 
tions of three branches of the service, Army, Navy, and Marine 
Corps appear on the walls of the arcade. 

In 1925 the city appropriated $1,000 for a celebration and 
some form of a memorial. A part of that amount was set aside for 
the purpose of erecting a permanent form of tribute to all our war 
veterans. The Town of Vernon and the City of Rockville have aug- 
mented that fund from time to time. The idea of a Tower on Fox 
Hill grew with the years, the W.P.A. offered to furnish the neces- 
sary labor and part of the material and with the aid of a few gen- 
erous individual gifts, reached the goal. 

It is a halo gracefully crowning the head of the citv. 


The Republic of Korea was invaded at I A.M. Sunday, June 
25, 1950, by the armed forces of the People's Democratic Republic 
of Korea (Communist). The United Nations Security Council, in 
emergency meeting June 25, declared the invasion a breach of the 
peace, called for a cessation of hostilities and the withdrawal of 
North Korean troops to the loth parallel, and asked all UN mem- 
bers to assist in carrying out this resolution. For, 9; against, 0. 
The Soviet Union was absent. Yugoslavia abstained. 

President Truman ordered General of the Army Douglas Mac- 
Arthur to aid the South Koreans, and, citing the threat of a Com- 
munist occupation of Formosa, ordered the 7th Fleet to protect 
that island and prevent Chinese Nationalist forces from attacking 
the mainland. The President, asked by the U. N. to name a com- 
mander to all U. N. forces, chose General MacArthur, July 8, 1950. 

While the Korean conflict is "no war" in the constitutional or 
legal sense, in that the United States Congress never declared war 
against North Korea, it was generally referred to as war. President 
Eisenhower referred to it as "war." It has also been referred to 
as "a continuation of World War II." 


John J. Boucher 
Gordon F. Wells 
Raymond E. Helm 
Donald W. Ellis 
Warren A. Robbins 
Robert I. Gitlin 
Joseph Piader, Jr. 
Louis A. DeCarli 
Allen E. Burke 
Kenneth W. Stone 
Wesley G. Stager 
Lester J. Baum 
Albert A. Turgeon 
William J. Smith 
Omer H. Schook 
Leonard A. Raczkowski 
Robert A. Boucher 
Patrick L. Brennan 
Charles M. Zane 
Carleton E. Newberry 
James C. Burke 
Norman W. Narkon 
Walter J. Nowak 

John O. Casey 
James J. Regan 
Edward A. Synal 
Stuart N. Coleman 
Walter G. Surdel 
Albert E. Morganson 
Leonard E. Sojka 
Warren W. Webster 
Everett C. Dickinson 
James A. Doherty 
Monroe Moses 
George J. Pitkat 
Theodore C. Wagner 
James E. Campbell 
Henry Knybel 
Allen M. Kabrick 
John F. Drost 
Harry A. Wells 
Emil Lehman 
Francis Szynal 
Richard F. Lanz 
Robert G. Reinhold 
Ralph G. Greene 

Raymond H. Hickton 
James O. Lambert 
Elmer J. Weirs 
Edward A. Duell 
Henry J. Fortuna 
Allen R. Schindler 
Robert A. Andre 
Stanley C. Lukasiewski 
William R. Gebhardt 
Charles W. Hlasny 
George L. Kibbe 
John E. Luetjen 
Earl L. Edwards 
Wyman H. Griggs, Jr. 
Allen L. Beaverstock 
Clifford O. Ward, Jr. 
Irving W. Dunn, Jr. 
Robert W. Pasternack 
David S. Kulo 
Floyd Mayo 
Charles E. Clark 
Craig K. Zane 
Frederick Bilow 




Philip W. Wilder 
George Shelsky 
Bernard J. Ertel, Jr. 
Roy A. Gebhardt 
Philip Blinn 
Wilfred J. Boure 
John A. Stiebitz, Jr. 
Roman C. Dzicek 
William J. Landry 
Edward W. Jesanis 
Elmer F. Hartenstein, Jr. 
Walter P. Vogel, Jr. 
William L. McCollum 
Raymond A. Terpilowski 
Raymond Berriault 
Robert B. Rothe 
Earl T. Ronan 

Robert G. Brennan 
Edward F. Newmarker, 
Raymond J. Zira 
Norman R. Nicotera 
Charleton Sperry 
Armond F. Hruby 
Kenneth A. Weber 
John H. Basch, Jr. 
Kenneth A. Weirs 
Joseph H. Shea 
Herbert R. Sojka 
Paul L. Lefebyre 
Andrew Fortuna, Jr. 
Norris T. Wood 
Stanley J. Bloniarz 
Ronald F. Helm 
Edward R. White 

Francis W. Miner, Jr. 
2 Richard F. Fetko 
William J. Wells 
Joseph P. Steppen 
William R. Meyer 
David W. Mead 
Everett W. Gerber 
Donald L. Coville 
Robert G. Mannel 
Stanley E. Wheeler 
Richard D. Loalbo 
Francis E. Hopowiec 
Robert E. Cole 
Lawrence M. Koblect 
Charles T. Brennan 
Richard H. Magdefrau 
Donald C. Hickton 


JUNE 28 TO JULY 4, 1908 

At a special town meeting held on Friday evening, November 

29, 1907, in the Town Hall the following resolutions authorizing 
a centennial celebration were passed: 

"Resolved — That the legal voters of the town of Vernon 
in town meeting assembled, do hereby declare themselves 
in favor of an "Old Home Week" celebration, to be held 
during some week in the year 1908, which will appropri- 
ately mark the one-hundredth anniversary of the town of 

Resolved — That a sum not to exceed $2,000 be appro- 
priated from the town treasury to be used for the expenses 
incurred by the "Old Home Week" celebration during the 
centennial year of the town, and that the town treasurer 
be, and he hereby is authorized to honor any and all or- 
ders from the treasurer of the general committee for such 
amounts as the committee shall need from time to time, 
not to exceed in the aggregate the amount appropriated 
by the town. 

Resolved — That the city of Rockville be asked to do what 
it can legally do to co-operate with the town through the 
mayor and Common Council in making the celebration 
a success." 

At an adjourned meeting of the general centennial committee 
in the Council Chamber on Friday evening, December 27, 1907, at 
8 o'clock, organization was perfected by the election of the fol- 
lowing officers: President, Charles Phelps; vice-president, Thomas 
F. Noone; secretary, Joseph C. Hammond, Jr.; assistant secretarv, 
Fred Woodhall; treasurer, Parley B. Leonard. Each one received 
a unanimous vote. 

After months of preparation, of hard work, of encouragement 
and obstacles, of enthusiasm and misgivings, those who had labored 
saw the fruition of their efforts, and the town of Vernon entered 
upon its grand centennial celebration. 

Doubtless the memories still freshest with those who can look 
back upon the events of that week in June, 1908, are the recollec- 



tions of the decorations which transformed our streets and open 
spaces into a stage-setting of more than theatrical splendor. Pri- 
vate houses, public buildings, business places, all contributed a 
lavish share to the total effect of beauty and carnival-like gaiety. 
Never before had Rockville's natural scenic advantages been so 
utilized and enhanced by the tasteful touch of Art. The entire 
city was a veritable bower of beauty by day and a fairy land by 

If the daylight effects were inspiring, those of evening and 
night were thrilling. Myriads of many -colored lights, outlining 
buildings, festooning streets and parks, made up a veritable "blaze 
of glory." Especially worthy of mention were the brilliant effects 
seen about Central Park. Here were erected Ionian columns, their 
white gracefulness crowned with gilt; and festooned from pillar 
to pillar, shone thousands of electric bulbs. A pretty effect was 
obtained about the fountain in Park Place by twining the four 
lamp-posts with laurel. 

Memorial Hall, as was fitting, was made a chief feature in the 
scheme of decoration, over the main entrance shining the word 
"Centennial," flanked on each side by the figures "1808" and "1908," 
respectively, the seal of the state being also outlined in bulbs of 
red, white, and blue. 

First and foremost in the sentiments expressed by the decora- 
tions was that of "Welcome." This heart-stirring word was of 
frequent appearance by day and night, and sounded the keynote 
of the whole week's festivities. 

Many were they who responded to the home-call, and found 
that "welcome" was indeed the common salutation of all home 
comers. In fact, to this day, we think and speak of that time as 
"Old Home Week." 

On the Sunday of June 28th, special services in all of the 
churches marked the preliminary approach of the real celebration. 
Pastors of all denominations united in presenting to their people 
some thoughts of special appropriateness to the occasion. Music, 
too, was a large factor in putting the minds of the people in tune 
with all the harmony and delight manifested within and without 
Without in any way slighting the value and enjoyment of other 
musical performances, it seems worthy of special remembrance that 
the centennial service of the Union Church was the occasion of 
presenting Haydn's magnificent oratorio, "The Creation." It was 
a fine contribution to the progress of Vernon in a musical sense. 


Perhaps the honor of inaugurating the celebration proper re- 
mains with the Gesang and Declamation Club. Just before mid- 
night of Saturday night, this association assembled in Central Park 
and sang "Forward the Light," and "Village Dear." 


SUNDAY, JUNE 28, 1908 

Morning — Special services in all the churches, sermons by former 
pastors and singing of old-time hymns. 

Afternoon — Rendition of famous oratorio, "The Creation," in Union 

Evening — Second rendition of "The Creation" given with solo parts 
by distinguished New York Artists, Orchestra, and Chorus of 
one hundred and twenty-five voices. Historical address at St. 
John's Church by Rev. Dr. Samuel Hart, Dean of Berkeley 
Divinity School and President of Connecticut Historical So- 
ciety. Solemn High Vespers at St. Bernard's Church, with 
sermon by Rev. Edward Flannery of Hazardville. 


Afternoon — Opening exercises at Vernon Center (mother settle- 
ment of the town), in historic Congregational Church, built 
in 1826, with following program: 1, Music; 2, Invocation; 3, 
Address of welcome by Parley B. Leonard, Esq., first select- 
man of the Town of Vernon; 4, Reading of Act of the General 
Assembly creating the Town of Vernon, by Francis B. Skinner, 
Esq., town clerk; 5, Music; 6, Historical Essay by C. Denison 
Talcott, Esq.; 7, Music; 8, Reminiscences, by Captain Charles 
W. Burpee of Hartford; 9, Centennial poem by Prof. Thomas 
D. Goodell of New Haven; 10, Music; 11, Commemorative 
address by Hon. Charles Phelps, President of Vernon Cen- 
tennial Committee; 12, Benediction. Following the exercises 
in the church there was a Band Concert and social gather- 
ing on green in front of the church. 

Evening — Grand Colonial Ball in Town Hall, under auspices of 
Sabra Trumbull Chapter, D. A. R. Grand Ball at Turn Hall. 
Opening of Electrical Display and Illuminations; Band Con- 
cert; Vaudeville, and Midway, on East Main Street. 


Afternoon — Automobile Hill-Climb Contest, Vernon Avenue, at two 
o'clock, Athletic sports, including foot races, sack races, climb- 



ing greased pole, etc. Ball game on Union Street grounds, 
Rockville vs. Middletown, champions of Middlesex County 
League. Balloon Ascension; Band Concert, Vaudeville, and 
Evening — Meeting of Alumni of Rockville High School, with grand 
reunion. Reception and banquet tendered by Fayette Lodge, 
No. 69, A. F. & A. M., to W. M. Edward Fuller, Grand 
Master of Masons in Connecticut. Ball in Town Hall. Elec- 
trical display and Illuminations; Band Concert, Vaudeville, 
and Midway. 


Afternoon — Fifers' and Drummers' convention and contest. Ball 
game on Union Street grounds, Rockville vs. Bristol; Balloon 
Ascension; Band Concert; Vaudeville, and Midway. 

Evening — Grand pyrotechnical display, furnished by Clarence D. 
Holt, former Rockville resident. Band Concert; Midway, and 
Vaudeville; Electrical Display and Illuminations. 


Morning — Baseball game on Union Street grounds between Rock- 
ville and Springfield State League team, (game to be pre- 
ceded by parade of the players of the two teams in autos, 
headed by band). 

Afternoon — Baseball on Union Street grounds, Rockville vs. Spring- 
field State League team. Balloon Ascension; Band Concert; 
Vaudeville, and Midway. 

Evening — Rockville Baseball Association's reception to players, en- 
tertainment, and ball, in Town Hall. Band Concert; Vaude- 
ville, and Midway; Electrical Display and Illuminations. 


Afternoon — Grand military, civic and industrial parade, ending 
with Centennial Drill under the direction of Moritz Kemnit- 
zer. Band Concert; Balloon Ascension; Vaudeville, and Mid- 
way. German Entertainment at Turn Hall. 

Evening — Grand military ball at Town Hall. German entertain- 
ment at Turn Hall. Band Concert; Vaudeville, and Midway; 
Electrical Display and Illuminations. 



Morning — Parade of Antiques and Horribles. Band Concert. 
Afternoon — Firemen's Muster. Baseball, Rockville vs. Stafford. 

Balloon Ascension; Band Concert; Vaudeville, and Midway. 
Evening — Firemen's ball at Town Hall. Band Concert; Electrical 

Display and Illuminations; Private Display of Fireworks; 

Vaudeville, and Midway. Exhibit of historical relics and curios 

each day. Industrial exhibit each day. 

One of the most attractive features each day was the appear- 
ance of Miss Mabel McKinley, niece of President McKinley, who 
at that time was a celebrated concert vocal soloist of New York. 



The celebration on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Septem- 
ber 12, 13, 14, 1935, was highly successful. Although the skv was 
clouded, there was no rain. The streets were beautifully decorated, 
and business houses and homes displayed flags and bunting. Hun- 
dreds of colored electric lights illumined the sky. People. L0,000 
of them, enjoyed the entire program. The ball on Thursday night 
was delightful; the Historic Exhibit and the Flower Show were of 
high order and added much to the celebration; the Pageants bv the 
school children presented in the afternoon and evening were well 
done; and Saturday's program, consisting of sports in the morn- 
ing, the mammoth parade in the afternoon, and the dance at night 
marked a wonderful celebration. 


General Chairman Mayor George Scheets 

Vice-chairman First Selectman Francis J. Prichard 

Secretary Lewis Chapman 

Treasurer Maurice Spurring 

The General Committee also consists of a representative from 
each church, lodge, fraternity, club, and other organizations in 
both Rockville and Vernon, as well as interested citizens. 


Thursday Evening, September 12 

Entertainment from 8 to 9 P.M. 
Dancing 9 P.M. Until Midnight Music by Kabrick's Orchestra 


Selection Orchestra 

Solo Caroline Milanese West 

Selections Schubert Trio 

Gavotte Louis XIII by Sinding 

Believe Me if All Those Endearing Charms by Moore 

Pizzicato Gavotte by Pache 

Raymond Kunicki, Violin; Henry Butler, Cello;' Mariette 

N. Fitch, Piano 

Violin Solo — "Hejre Kati" by Hubay Raymond Kunicki 





Episodes from Colonial Connecticut 

Sykes Auditorium 3 P.M. 

Presented by pupils of Public Schools, including members of the 

1935 graduating classes of the East and Maple Street Schools 



Historic Characters: 

Noah Webster Roger Sherman 

Harriet Beecher Stowe Israel Putnam 

Founding of Hartford — 1636 

Founding of New Haven — 1638 

Granting of Connecticut Charter by King Charles II in 1662 

Andros and the Charter — 1687 

Interlude — The Yankee Peddler 

Deborah Campion, dispatch bearer — 1775 

Wethersfield Conference 


For those unable to enter the Sykes Auditorium, because of 
the large attendance, there was an overflow performance at the Old 
High School Assembly room, presented by children from the Maple 
Street and East Schools. 



Friday Evening, September 13 

at 8 P.M. 

Rev. George T. Sinnott, Pastor St. Bernard's Catholic Church 



Instrumental Selection — Marche Militaire Schubert 

Schubert Trio 
Vocal Selections — 

a. Bridal Chorus from "The Rose Maiden" Cowen 

b. Old Folks at Home Foster-Harris 

The Treblers 
Introductory Remarks Rev. George T. Sinnott 

Invocation Rev. H. B. Olmstead 

Pastor St. John's Episcopal Church 
Instrumental Selection — Caratina Raff 

Schubert Trio 



City of Rockville Mayor George Scheets 

Town of Vernon First Selectman Francis J. Prichard 

Vocal Selections — 

a. O — He Carita De Koven 

b. By the Bend of the River Edwards-Hemstreet 

The Treblers 
Address C. Denison Talcott, former State Senator 

Vocal Selection — Cast Thy Burden Hemblen 

The Treblers 
Address — 'Why Celebrate the Tercentenary" 

Dr. Robert Demming, State Board of Education 
Instrumental Selection — Hungarian Dance No. 6 Brahms 

Schubert Trio 
Benediction Rev. Milton Liebe 

Pastor Killingworth Congregational Church 

The Ladies' Chorus, known as "The Treblers" is under the di- 
rection of Miss Edith F. Ransom, Instructor of voice and piano. 



9:00 A.M. Tennis. South Manchester vs. Rockville. 

9:30 A.M. Baseball. South Manchester vs. Rockville. 
10:00 A.M. Start of Cross Country Race. Finish in front of 

Board Walk. 
10:00 A.M. Track Events. Main Street, Opposite Board Walk. 


The parade started at 2 p.m. with Eight or More Divisions, 
Bands, Floats, Marchers and organizations. Most colorful parade 
in history of city. 


There was a collection of old china, glassware, pewter, books, 
samplers and similar objects of unusual interest and historical value 
at the library. The library was opened from 10 A.M. to 9 P.M. on 
each of the three days of the celebration. 


Under Auspices of Rockville Garden Club 
Friday and Saturday, September 13, 14 
Fitch Block, Union Sheet 
Extensive exhibits of fall flowers by members of the Garden 
Club, with close to 100 members exhibiting. 



Title Page 

These Have Brought Us Renown 395 

In the World of Music 427 

In the World of Sports and Entertainment 436 

Poem Commemoration 444 

Title Page 

Charles Phelps 393 

George Maxwell 394 

Francis T. Maxwell 394 

George Sykes 394 

E. Stevens Henry 394 

The Maxwell Mansion 422 

Hammond Silver Drum Corps 430 

First Athletic Field on Orchard Street 435 









^- '*•*■ 

v iSk. 




The important contribution of the small town of Vernon to 
the bis; outside world is reallv astonishing. Some of those who 
have brought us renown bv their achievements were born here 
in humble homes; others passing through the Loom Citv received 
instruction in our schools, encouraging counsel from men of genius, 
and the friendlv interest of a verv limited population. 

This is a partial list: 

Martin Kellogg 

President of the Universitv of California 

George Edwin Mac-Lean 

President of the L'niversitv of Nebraska 
President of the Universitv of Iowa 

Thomas Dwight Goodell 

Professor of Greek at Yale Universitv 

Ebenezer Kellogg 

Professor and Librarian at Williams College 

James J. Gilfillan 

Treasurer of the United States 

Edward James Gavegan 

Justice of Supreme Court of Xew York 

Dwight Loomis 

Connecticut Jurist and Congressman 

Augustine Loner gan 

United States Senator 

Lucien Francis Burpee 

Colonel and Judge Advocate 

Harold Francis Loomis 

Brigadier General L'nited States Armv 

Charles YVinslow Burpee 
Connecticut Historian 



Charles Phelps 

First Attorney General of Connecticut 

Cora Elizabeth Lutz 

Authority on Medieval Literature 

William Churchill Hammond 
Organist and Choir Master 

Everett J. Lake 

Governor of the State 

Isaac Merritt Agard 
College President 

Walter Raymond Agard 

Professor of Classics, University of Wisconsin 

Lvman Twining Tingier 
Lieutenant Governor 

D wight Marcy 

Clerk of Senate and Speaker of the House 

George Talcott 

Bank President and Trial Justice 

Frederick Swindells 

Manufacturer and Philanthropist 

Benezet Hough Bill 
State's Attorney 

Lebbeus Bissell 

Business Genius 

E. Stevens Henry 

State Treasurer and Congressman 

The Maxwells 

Four Brothers Sykes 

Antoni N. Sadlak 


John W. Middleton 

Brigadier General, United States Army 

Carl McKinley 

Organist and Composer 



Martin Kellogg was born in Vernon, Connecticut, March 5, 
1828. His father, Allyn Kellogg, was for fifty years deacon of 
Vernon Congregational Church, a farmer, and Representative in 
the Connecticut Legislature. 

Martin was graduated from Yale University in 1850 as the 
most distinguished man in his class and later studied theology at 
Andover and Union Seminaries. He went to California in 1855 
as a representative of the American Home Missionarv Society of 
New York City. He was a minister for a period at Shasta City, 
outfitting point for the gold miners of the Coast Range Mountains. 
Later, he became pastor of the Congregational Church at Grass 
Valley in the Mother Lode country. 

The University of California was chartered on March 23, 1868. 
Under the terms of the Charter it took over the College of Cali- 
fornia. On November 10, 1868, The Regents of the new Universitv 
of California named Professor Kellogg to the chair of Ancient Lan- 
guages. He thus became the second professor named on the fac- 
ulty of the University of California. In the spring of 1885, the 
faculty of the University elected Professor Kellogg as chairman 
of the faculty and he served as President without title until Janu- 
ary, 1886. On October 1, 1890, the Academic Senate of the Uni- 
versity elected Professor Kellogg as President pro tempore. In the 
same month, The Regents of the University, recognizing the sig- 
nificance of this choice bv the facultv, requested Professor Kellogg 
to carry on again the duties of the presidency and to occupv a seat 
on The Board of Regents. On January 24, 1893, the Regents fur- 
ther indicated their concurrence with the opinion of the facultv bv 
appointing him as President of the University. 

On September 14, 1898, President Kellogg submitted his res- 
ignation to the Board of Regents to take effect on March 23, 1899. 
In accepting this resignation, The Regents resolved "there has been 
no greater force toward higher ideals of character and scholarship 
in all the historv of this State than President Kelk>o;o;." He was 
promptly named Emeritus Professor of Latin. At commencement 
in 1899, the faculty of the University paid the following tribute 
to the retiring President Kellogg: "You, sir, are one of the very few 
of us still remaining who have been associated with the University 

and assisted in its counsel from its besfinnincr. In addition to this. 

o o 

for nine years as its President, you have determined its policv and 
guided its course. ... It is impossible not to attribute the phenom- 


enal growth of the University in all directions to a rare combination 
and even balance of many qualities, intellectual and moral, con- 
ducive to wise administration. Among these qualities especially 
affecting our relations to you and endearing you to us, but also 
necessary to the cooperative activity of the University as a whole, 
we cannot fail to recognize a clearness of insight, a trueness of 
judgment untainted by vanity or self-seeking, a modesty which is 
not ashamed to seek counsel and knows well how to use it whether 
in confirming or modifying personal judgment. It is due to this 
chiefly that the faculty, the academic council, the students, the 
whole University, have become unified into a living, growing, 
healthy organism, all parts acting together harmoniously for the 
good of the whole." 

Dr. David Starr Jordan, while President of Stanford University 
said, "If I could do it, I would fill every place in my faculty with 
President Kellogg multiplied over as many times as I have places." 
He said further, "The spirit and character of a man like President 
Kellogg have to be born in him and are the rarest and most valu- 
able possessions a university can have. Any university can find all 
the specialists it needs; but it may be thankful if by raking the 
country over, it can get even a few men of that inborn spirit; and 
when it has them all these things shall be added unto it." 

As President and Professor, Mr. Kellogg served 43 years on the 
staff of the College of California and the University of California. 
He died on August 26, 1903. 


George Edwin MacLean was born in Rockville on August 31, 
1850, the son of Edwin W. and Julia Ladd MacLean. His Bachelor 
of Aits degree from Williams College in 1871 was the first of many 
scholastic attainments. Other degrees earned here and abroad 
make an imposing list: A.M., 1874 and B.D., Yale, 1874; Ph.D., 
Univ. of Leipzig, 1883; Univ. of Berlin, Univ. of Oxford, 1882; 
LL.D., Williams, 1895; Syracuse University, 1909. 

He married Clara S. Taylor of Great Barrington, Massachu- 
setts, May 20, 1874. Ordained into the ministry in that same year 
in New Lebanon, New York, by the Congregational Council and 
the Presbyterian Presbytery, Mr. MacLean became pastor of the 
Memorial Presbyterian Church of Troy, New York, where he re- 
mained until 1881. 


After studying for two years in Europe, he answered the call 
of scholarship, and became professor of English language and lit- 
erature at the University of Minnesota, a position he held for 
twelve years until called to be the Chancellor of the University of 
Nebraska in 1895. Evangelist E. Payson Hammond, of Vernon, 
Connecticut, visited the University during the Chancellorship of 
George E. MacLean, and addressed the student body. After four 
years, MacLean became the President of the State University of 
Iowa and occupied that important chair for twelve years. 

It was during his work at these American Universities that he 
began his career of writing. His published books show his in- 
terests: "A Chart of English Literature," 1892; "Old and Middle 
English Reader," 1893; "A Decade of Development in American 
State Universities," 1898; "The Next Stage in the Educational De- 
velopment of Nebraska," 1898. 

Dr. MacLean died on May 5, 1938, in his eighty-eighth year. 

George Edwin MacLean, Educator, born in Rockville, Connecticut, 
August 31, 1850. 

Yale 1874, Ph.D. Professor English Language and Literature 
at University of Minnesota, 1883-1895 

President of University of Nebraska, 1895-1899; President 
State University of Iowa, 1899-1911 

United States specialist in Higher Education, 1913 

Visiting Universities and Colleges of Great Britain and Ireland, 
1914-1916, director for Universities and Colleges in the 
United Kingdom 

Decorated Officer de l'lnstruction Publique (France) 

Author — 

A Chart of English Literature with References, 1892 

Old and Middle English Reader with Introduction, Notes 
and Glossary, 1893 

A Decade of Development in American State Universities, 

Present Standards of Higher Education in U. S., 1913 

Studies in Higher Education in England and Scotland, 
with suggestions for Universities and Colleges in 
United States, 1916 


Similar Studies in Ireland and Wales, 1917 

Opportunities for Graduate Study in Great Britain, 1921 

The New International Era, 1923 

History of Great Barrington, Massachusetts, 1928 
Addresses, Articles, Reviews 

George Edwin MacLean died May 5, 1938. 


Thomas Dwight Goodell was born in Ellington, Connecticut, 
November 8, 1854, the son of Francis and Sophia Louise (Burpee) 
Goodell. He was fitted for college at the Rockville (Conn.) High 
School, and graduated as a member of the first class in 1873. He 
was awarded the Hurlbut Scholarship in his Freshman year at 
Yale, received a third prize in English composition as a Sophomore, 
in his Junior year was given a first prize in the Winthrop competi- 
tion and a second prize at the Junior Exhibition, and divided the 
Scott Prize, and in Senior year received a College Premium in 
English composition. His appointments were a philosophical ora- 
tion in Junior year and a high oration at Commencement. He was 
a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He graduated in 1877. 

His marriage took place in Rockville, May 9, 1878, to Julia 
Harriet, daughter of William Wiltshire and Julia Ann (Stebbins) 
Andross. They had no children. 

He had taught school in North Coventry and in Rockville be- 
fore entering Yale, and upon graduation accepted a position as 
classical teacher in the grammar school section of the Hartford 
Public High School, where he remained for eleven years, carrying 
on at the same time extra work in the Yale Graduate School, for 
which he received the degree of Ph.D. in 1884. In 1886 he went 
abroad for fourteen months, matriculating at the University of 
Berlin and traveling in Greece and Italy. He was appointed as- 
sistant professor of Greek at Yale in 1888. In 1893 he was pro- 
moted to a full professorship. He became senior professor of Greek 
in 1909, and from 1912 was Lampson professor of the Greek lan- 
guage and literature. 

He served as professor of the Greek language and literature 
at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens during 1894- 
95, having been given a year's leave of absence by the University. 


He wrote the Greek Festival Hymn for the Yale Bicentennial Cele- 
bration, the music for which was composed by the late Horatio 
Parker, dean of the School of Music. Professor Goodell published 
many books, among them being "The Greek in English;" "First 
Lessons in Greek, with Special Reference to the Etymology of 
English Words of Greek Origin," 1886 (revised and enlarged, 1889); 
"Greek Lessons," 1892; "Chapters on Greek Metric," Yale Bicen- 
tennial Publications, 1901; "A School Grammar of Attic Greek," 
1902; "Greek Lessons for Beginners" (with Frederick S. Morrison, 
'80), 1903; and "Athenian Tragedy: A Study in Popular Art," 1920. 
A volume of poems, entitled "Commemoration," was published 
through the Yale University Press in June, 1921. Professor Goodell 
contributed numerous articles and monographs to magazines and 
philological journals. He was a Congregationalist, and attended 
the College Church. He served as vice-president of the American 
Philological Association from 1909 to 1911, and as its president 
during 1911-12, and was also a member of the Archaeological In- 
stitute of America, the Connecticut Academy of Sciences, the Class- 
ical Association (British), and the Advisory Council of the Simpli- 
fied Spelling Board. 

He died at his home in New Haven, July 7, 1920, after a brief 

Since his death Mrs. Goodell has given to the Archaeological 
Museum of Phelps Hall a valuable group of Greek and Roman 
antiquities collected by Professor Goodell. 


Ebenezer Kellogg was born in Vernon, Connecticut, on Oc- 
tober 25, 1789, and was graduated from Yale College in 1810. For 
two years he taught at an Academy in New London, Connecticut, 
where he found his work both interesting and stimulating. How- 
ever, he never seemed to be satisfied with the accomplishments 
which he was making. Slowly there came an inward urge to enter 
the ministry, and he could not resist the call. He entered the 
Andover Theological Seminary in the fall of 1812, where he re- 
mained for three years studying and struggling with himself over 
his future. Kellogg was extremely pious, but during the three 
years at Andover the call to the ministry became less and less a 
divine urge, and by 1815 he had decided that perhaps it was not 
the Lord's will after all for him to preach the gospel. 


His love for teaching was still alive, and when he was offered 
a professorship of languages at Williams College in the fall of 
1815, he accepted immediately. Though he had turned his back 
on the ministry, he carried as much religious zeal and enthusiasm 
with him to Williams College as he could have carried into the 
pulpit. He was librarian from 1815 to 1845, and Williams College 
was ever grateful for his metriculous work. 

When the college was in circumstances of embarrassment he 
never hesitated to make sacrifices, to live on a small salary with- 
out complaint, or to do an amount of miscellaneous labor which 
few men would have been willing to undertake. He originated 
the idea of the college garden, and purchased the ground and gave 
it to the college. It is now a stretch of lawn. Other buildings are 
around its borders, but none on the plot itself. 

He roomed for some time in college, occupying the northeast 
corner room in the Old West College, second story. It was his 
practice to call at all the rooms in that building as often as once 
a day, to see that the students were in their rooms and attending 
to their studies. He was a man of great particularity. 

In 1816, Kellogg's health declined, and for many months he 
was quite ill. He had consumption and went to South Carolina. 
He left Charleston on December 16, 1817 for Savannah. He re- 
sumed his teaching duties at Williams College in the fall of 1818, 
where he taught until his death in October, 1846, at the age of 57. 
His trip to South Carolina and Georgia in 1817-18 perhaps length- 
ened his life by several years. 

Mark Hopkins, then President of Williams College, delivered 
the funeral sermon giving a glowing tribute to the faithfulness 
of Professor Kellogg. 


In the year 1856 a young man of Scotch descent, newly grad- 
uated from Williams College, came to Rockville to read law in the 
office of Congressman Dwight Loomis, located on Park Street on 
the site of the present Sykes School. Judge Loomis was then Rep- 
resentative from the First Congressional District, comprising, at 
that time, Hartford and Tolland Counties. James J. Gilfillan, born 
in Belchertown, Massachusetts, in 1836, soon proved himself an 
ambitious young man. In spite of his youth, he founded and edited 
a political weekly paper, which he named the Tolland County Re- 


publican, the first newspaper printed in Rockville. The office of 
this paper was located on Park Street, opposite the Sykes School. 
During his six years in Rockville, he so impressed Judge Loomis 
with his efficient honesty that the Rockville Congressman helped 
him to obtain an appointment as a temporary clerk in the office of 
the Treasurer of the United States. Assisted by two Rockville 
people, Judge Loomis and Miss Josephine Thomas, whom he mar- 
ried, Gilfillan was well started on his way to be Treasurer of the 
United States. 

An obituary notice at the time of Mr. Gilfillan's death recalls 
a day when travel across the continent was an arduous and dan- 
gerous undertaking: 

"Among his first duties as clerk he was to take $4,000,- 
000. in greenbacks to the assistant treasurer at San Francis- 
co and bring back to Washington $3,000,000. in gold coin. 
It was the period of train robbing and the young clerk had 
to go with an escort of army officers west of Omaha. The 
trip was made in a parlor car in which the seats were re- 
moved and beds substituted." 

Inasmuch as the first transcontinental railroad was not completed 
until the year 1869, it is likely that part of the trip was by stage 
coach or some similarly dangerous means of travel. 

For four years, James Gilfillan served as a temporary clerk, 
and was then promoted to clerk. Further promotions came regu- 
larly every two years for this industrious young man, until in 1875 
he was Cashier with a salary of $3,800. 

James Abram Garfield was influential in this rapid and steady 
promotion of Mr. Gilfillan. The Tolland County Journal is the 
source for an interesting story about Garfield, who later became 
President of the United States. Under the date of April 15, 1881, 
the Journal records: 

"When President Garfield was a representative in 
Congress years back, (he had just resigned as major-gen- 
eral in order to enter Congress) he called in on United 
States Treasurer Spinner one day and said: "General 
Spinner, do you know that in one of the lower rooms of 
this building there is at work an old classmate of mine? 
He was wonderfully apt at Williams College. He could 
beat me at my lessons and is quick and honest." 


"What is his name?" 

"James Gilfillan." 

Whereupon Treasurer Spinner sent for him, made ar- 
rangements to promote him and advanced him rapidly. 

In 1877, James J. Gilfillan became Treasurer of the United 
States, succeeding A. U. Wyman to that responsible position. In- 
teresting details of how Mr. Gilfillan obtained his promotion to 
Treasurer are related in the Washington Evening Star of May 24, 

"Some days ago Treasurer Wyman went to the room 
of Secretary Sherman and formally tendered his resigna- 
tion as Treasurer of the United States. Secretary Sherman, 
much surprised, declined to accept it, stating that his serv- 
ices as treasurer were appreciated, and that he was too 
good a public officer to leave the service of the govern- 
ment. Within a day or two Mr. Wyman again pressed 
upon Secretary Sherman his resignation and again its ac- 
ceptance was declined. Yesterday Mr. Wyman stated to 
Secretary Sherman that in the present condition of his 
health he could not continue to hold the office of treas- 
urer, as its manifold responsibilities were too trying for 
one not in possession of full physical vigor. He told Mr. 
Sherman that in view of the duties being less responsible, 
he would accept the place of assistant treasurer, and rec- 
ommended that James Gilfillan, the incumbent of the lat- 
ter position, be promoted to the treasurership. 

The commission of James J. Gilfillan as Treasurer of the United 
States was duly signed by the President and on the 2nd of July, 
Mr. Gilfillan changed offices with Mr. Wyman. 

James Gilfillan was Treasurer until the spring of 1883, sub- 
mitting his resignation to the President on March 5 to take effect 
on the first of April. He had accepted the position of treasurer 
and manager of the Mutual Trust Company of New York. The 
Washington Evening Star said of Mr. Gilfillan that he "has been 
so efficient in the discharge of his responsible duties, and so cour- 
teous and obliging to all who have approached him, that he will 
leave his official position with nothing but praise from everybody." 
The Banker's Magazine and Statistical Register (New York) com- 
mented in glowing terms: 


"Treasurer Gilfillan's Retirement. — In the retirement 
of James Gilfillan, Treasurer of the United States, the 
Government loses a man it cannot replace. He made so 
little show that few knew of his existence. He despised 
notoriety and did his work for eight or ten hours a day 
without bragging about it to the world. General Spinner 
was called the watch dog of the Treasury, and yet he lost 
many thousands of dollars, from the payment of which 
Congress released him. Mr. Gilfillan never lost a dollar, 
but, by his integrity against cliques, he saved thousands 
to the Treasury, and nobody was high enough to influence 
him against what he thought to be his duty." — credited to 
"Wash. Letter to Phila. Press." 

The May (1883) issue of the same Banker's Magazine contains 
this interesting sidelight: 

"United States Treasury. — The committee appointed 
to examine and count the money and securities of the 
United States Treasury completed its work on the 19th of 
April. This count, which is the only absolute verification 
of the condition of the Treasury made since 1872, was re- 
quired by the retirement of Treasurer Gilfillan, who had 
not yet been released from his official bond. A discrep- 
ancy of three cents only was discovered between the Treas- 
urer's accounts and the cash and securities on hand, and 
this sum is in excess of the amount stated in the books, 
and belongs to the Government. If the balance had been 
on the other side Mr. Gilfillan would have been required 
to make good the deficit. . . . While the officers of the 
Treasury were morally certain that everything was right, 
they feared that during the past ten years, when hun- 
dreds of millions of dollars were handled, some error 
might have occurred." 

He remained in New York, presumably with the Mutual Trust 
Company, filling positions variously as treasurer and president, 
until 1889. He then returned to Connecticut, and lived in Col- 
chester until his death in 1929, at the advanced age of 93 — per 
ardua ad astra. 


Mr. Edward James Gavegan's father was Matthew Gavegan of 


New Haven, Connecticut, a journalist and veteran of the Civil War. 
His mother was Helen J. (Barry) Gavegan. 

He was born April 5, 1863, in Windsor, Connecticut, and grad- 
uated from the Rockville High School. At the exercises of the 
Class of 1880, held in the First Congregational Church, the audi- 
ence heard his fine declamation on "Emmet's Speech at His Trial." 
At Yale, he was given the Second colloquy appointment Junior and 
Senior years. He was a member of the Freshman Glee Club; Uni- 
versity Glee Club two years; College Choir; Porter Literary Society 
and Delta Kappa Epsilon. He attended Yale School of Law 
1889-91 (LL.B. 1891; shared Munson Prize Senior year; member 
University Glee Club and Kent Club). 

Admitted to New York bar in 1892, he became a Justice of 
the Supreme Court of New York State for the First Judicial Dis- 
trict in 1910 and continued until retirement in 1933 and was an 
official referee, 1934-43. He represented several labor unions of 
the building trade from 1906 to 1909. He was appointed a mem- 
ber of President Theodore Roosevelt's White House Labor Con- 
ference, a director of the American Institute of Criminal Law and 
Criminology; he was also on the Advisory Board of St. Vincent's 
Hospital; a member of the Association of the Bar of the City of 
New York, New York State and County Bar Associations, New 
York County Lawyers Association, American and International Bar 
Associations, Society of Medical Jurisprudence, Academy of Polit- 
ical Science (New York), American Federation of Musicians, So- 
ciety of St. Vincent de Paul, and the Roman Catholic Church. 

He was married October 14, 1897, in New York City to Anna 
Ida Walters O'Mara. They had no children. He died February 
6, 1943, in New York City and was buried in Calvary Cemetery, 
New York City. 


Dwight Loomis, born in Columbia, Connecticut, July 27, 1821, 
attended the common schools and academies in Monson and Am- 
herst, Massachusetts. He taught school and was graduated from 
the law department of Yale University in 1847. He was admitted 
to the Bar the same year and commenced practice at Rockville. 
He was elected a member of the State House of Representatives in 
1851, and a member of the State Senate 1857-1859. He was elected 
as a Republican to the Thirty-Sixth and Thirty-Seventh Congress 


(March 4, 1859-March 3, 1863). Appointed as a judge of the 
Superior Court of the State 1864-1875, he became Associate Jus- 
tice of the Supreme Court of the State 1875-1891. He moved to 
Hartford in 1892, and became a State referee from 1892 until his 
death in a train accident near Waterbury, Connecticut, September 
17, 1903. He was buried in Grove Hill Cemetery, Rockville, Con- 
necticut, respected always as a Christian statesman and impartial 

His portrait hangs in the State's Attorney's room of the State 


Augustine Lonergan, born in Thompson, Windham County, 
Connecticut, in 1874, attended the public school at Maple Street 
in Rockville and also attended school in Bridgeport. He worked 
for some time in the Hockanum Mill. He was graduated from the 
law department of Yale University in 1902; was admitted to the 
Bar in 1901, and commenced practice in Hartford, Connecticut. 
He was a member of the American and State Bar Associations. 
He served as Representative in Congress from 1913-1915, 1917- 
1921 and 1931-1933. 

He was elected to the United States Senate in 1932 and served 
from March 4, 1933, to January 3, 1939; engaged in the practice 
of law in Washington, D.C., until his death there on October 18, 
1947; was interred in Mount St. Benedict's Cemetery, Hartford, 

It was Senator Lonergan who unofficially named one of Hart- 
ford's streets, "Rockville Street," after his expressed desire. The 
official name was given to the street on October 26, 1925. It runs 
from Vine Street to Enfield Street, Hartford. 


Lucien Burpee was born in Rockville, October 12, 1855. His 
father was Thomas Francis Burpee, a manufacturer, who was a 
colonel of the 21st Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers during the 
Civil War and was mortally wounded at Cold Harbor, Virginia, 
June 9, 1864, and died two days later. 

After graduating from Rockville High School, he entered Yale 
College, where he received two prizes in English Composition in 


his Sophomore year, high oration appointments Junior and Senior 
years, a second prize at the Junior Exhibition, and a Townsend 
Premium for English Composition in his Senior year; spoke at 
Commencement; he was an editor of the Yale Literary Magazine 
and of the Banner senior year. 

Lucien Burpee studied at Yale School of Law (1879-1880) and 
at Hamilton College School of Law, receiving the degree of LL.B. 
at the latter institution. He was admitted to the New York Bar 
in July, 1880; held the Larned and Clark fellowships at Yale 1880- 
81 (student in American history) at the same time tutoring and 
studying law. He was admitted to the Connecticut Bar by motion, 
December, 1880. 

He served as a judge of the Supreme Court of Errors, New 
York, from 1921 until his death. 

He enlisted in the Connecticut National Guard 1877; was 
elected a Second Lieutenant of Company A, second regiment 1881; 
became Captain 1887; served as Colonel of the 2nd Regiment from 
1895 to 1899; appointed Lieutenant Colonel and Judge Advocate 
of United States Volunteers 1898; served during Spanish-American 
War on the staffs of General Miles and General Wilson, receiving 
honorable mention for distinguished service in the Porto Rican 
campaign; received his discharge January 1, 1899. 

He was a member of the New Haven County Bar Association, 
Loyal Legion, Sons of Veterans, Spanish War Veterans, Naval and 
Military Order of the Spanish War, Sons of the American Revo- 
lution, Military and Naval Order of Foreign Wars of the United 
States (past commander), Veterans of Foreign Wars and the 
Rockville Congregational Church. 

He was married three times. 

He was buried in Grove Hill Cemetery, Rockville. A guard 
of honor, appointed by the War Department, escorted the body 
to the grave, where a bugler sounded taps. 


Born in Rockville, Connecticut, Brigadier General Loomis was 
graduated from West Point in 1914 and was promoted to First Lieu- 
tenant in 1916. He was made a captain in July, 1917, and was 
promoted to the temporary rank of lieutenant colonel in October, 
1918. He reverted to his permanent rank of captain in March, 
1920, and was made permanent major in July, 1920. In 1935 he 


was made a lieutenant colonel and in June, 1941, he was promoted 
to colonel. In October, 1941, he was promoted to the temporary 
grade of brigadier general, United States Army. 

Upon graduation from West Point General Loomis was first 
assigned to Paris as assistant to the military attache in 1914. He 
returned to the United States for duty at Fort Monroe, Virginia, 
in October, 1914. He was in Hawaii from October, 1915, to April, 
1918, where he served as aide to the Department Commander at 
Honolulu and as the Hawaiian Department Intelligence Officer. 

After a year at Fort Monroe, Virginia, he returned to West 
Point where he served as an instructor in French for four years. 
He then attended the Advanced Course of the Coast Artillery 
School at Fort Monroe and was graduated in 1925. He then joined 
the Seventh Coast Artillery at Fort Hancock, New Jersey for two 

General Loomis graduated from the Command and General 
Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, in 1928. He then re- 
turned to Fort Monroe as an instructor for four years. In 1932 he 
took the course at the Ecole Superieure de Guerre, Paris, France, 
and was graduated in 1934, when he returned to the United States 
for duty at Fort Totten, New York, and with the Organized Re- 
serves in New York City until 1938. 

In 1939 he graduated from the Army War College, Washing- 
ton, D. C, and remained in Washington as a member of the War 
Plans Division of the War Department General Staff. Upon his 
appointment as brigadier general in October, 1941, he was as- 
signed to command the Portland Subsector of the New England 
Sector with headquarters at Fort Williams, Maine. In May, 1942, 
he was transferred to Jacksonville, Florida, to command the South- 
ern Sector of the Eastern Defense Command. 

In October, 1943, General Loomis went to Algiers in North 
Africa where he was appointed Chairman of the Joint Rearma- 
ment Committee, North Africa Theater of Operations. In that 
capacity he was responsible for the coordination of all matters in 
connection with the equipping and training of the French Armed 
Forces. After the liberation of Paris this committee was transferred 
to that city and became the Rearmament Division of Supreme 
Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces, Mission to France, of 
which General Loomis was the Chief. 

From October, 1945, until his retirement in November, 1946, 
General Loomis was Chief of the Fiscal and Budget Section, Head- 
quarters Army Ground Forces, Washington, D. C. 




Distinguished Service Medal Officer of the Legion of Honor 

Legion of Merit Groix de Guerre with Palm 

Bronze Star Medal Grand Officer Nichau-Iftikar, 

World War I Victory Medal Tunisia 

American Campaign Medal 

American Defense Service Medal GREAT BRITAIN 

with foreign service clasp 
World War II Victory Medal 
European African Middle Eastern 

Campaign Medal 

Commander of the British Empire 


Charles W. Burpee was born November 13, 1859, in Rock- 
ville. His father was Thomas Francis Burpee, a woolen manufac- 
turer in Rockville. After attending Rockville High School, Charles 
Rurpee went to Yale and received first prize in English composi- 
tion in his Sophomore year and second prize in the second term; 
first dispute appointment and Exhibition speaker in his Junior 
year; first colloquy appointment Senior year. He was on the board 
of the "Yale Courant" his sophomore year; chairman editorial board 
"Yale Daily News," Senior year; a Class deacon; co-author of 
"Medes," a two-act play produced by the Yale University Dramatic 
Association in 1881; acting fleet captain Yale Corinthian Yacht 
Club Senior year; member Gamma Nu, Psi Upsilon and Skull and 

He became city editor of the "Waterbury (Conn.) American" 
1883-91; part owner "Bridgeport (Conn.) Standard" 1891-95; on 
the staff of the "Hartford Courant" 1895-1904; managing editor 
1900-04; editor Phoenix Mutual Life Insurance Company, Hartford, 
and later Chief of Reinstatement Division, 1904 until retirement in 
1935; literary editor "Hartford Times" 1930-35. He was author of 
"The Military History of Waterbury" in 1891; "Graduate Course 
of Applied Psychology in Life Insurance" 1913; "First Century of 
the Phoenix National Bank of Hartford" 1914; a "History of Hart- 
ford County" 1928; "A Century in Hartford" (1931) and Burpee's 
"The Story of Connecticut," 1939 (4 vols.). He contributed to 
"History of Waterbury" 1896 by Rev. Joseph Anderson, D.D., 
member of the Yale Corporation; and "History of Connecticut in 
Monograph Form" by Norris Galpin Osborn 1925. He enlisted as 


a private in the First Connecticut Volunteers during the Spanish- 
American War; was a Captain of the Connecticut National Guard 
and Colonel of the First Regiment 1917-21; Vice-President Yale 
Alumni Association of Hartford 1908-09, President 1909-10, and 
secretary Hartford Yale Loan Fund; member Sons of the Ameri- 
can Revolution; Connecticut Historical Society, Friends of Hart- 
ford, Congregational Church. He was married November 5, 1885. 
He died May 13, 1945, in Hartford and was buried in Southbury, 


From a humble beginning he scaled the heights. That one 
sentence describes the career of Charles Phelps, one of Rockville's 
most prominent citizens, who passed away February 8, 1940, at 
Daytona Beach, Florida, where he had gone with Mrs. Phelps to 
spend the winter. He was 87 years of age. Born in a Methodist 
parsonage in East Hartford on August 10, 1852, to Reverend Ben- 
jamin C. and Sarah Parker Phelps, he carried through life the 
training he received in that humble home, and always had a deep 
reverence for the things which are sacred. He was a leading law- 
yer, with 64 years of active practice. 

He obtained his early education at Wethersfield, Connecticut, 
and East Greenwich, Rhode Island. In 1871, he entered Wesleyan 
University and was graduated in 1875. That same year he entered 
the law office of Judge Benezet H. Bill in this city and two years 
later was admitted to the bar. From that point on, his rise was 
rapid until in 1897 he was elected Secretary of State and in 1899 
he became the first Attorney General of the State of Connecticut. 

Mr. Phelps possessed a brilliant mind and a marvelous memory. 
He resembled a mighty cathedral in that one had to be a distance 
away in order really to appreciate his greatness. Such was his 
memory, he never forgot a name and would call off dates of va- 
rious events that had taken place years ago. He was quick to grasp 
a problem and once his nimble brain began to work, its solution 
was not long forthcoming. All his friends admired him for his 
sense of humor and pleasing personality. 

Mr. Phelps was also a gifted orator with poise and power. 
How magnificently his sentences marched! He charmed his friends 
with his speeches, delivered without a note, of beautiful rhetoric, 
patriotic sentiment, touching eloquence. These gifts induced Wes- 
leyan University to confer upon him the degree of Master of Arts. 


His first office was located in Tolland. He moved to Rock- 
ville after one year. 

Mr. Phelps was for many years a member of the State Board 
of Examiners of applicants for admission to the bar. He was a 
county coroner from the time of the creation of that office in 1883 
until his appointment as State's Attorney twenty-one years later. 
He served as corporation counsel for the City of Rockville from 
1890 to 1892 and as prosecuting attorney for the city from 1890 
to 1897 and as State Attorney for Tolland County from 1904 to 
1915. He was a member of the Connecticut House of Representa- 
tives from the Town of Vernon in 1885 and in 1893 was elected 
to the State Senate from the twenty-third senatorial district. In 
1902, he was elected a delegate to the State Constitutional Con- 
vention. He was also a member of the Commission appointed by 
the legislature to study the question of the establishment of a pub- 
lic utilities commission to take the place of the then existing rail- 
road commission. 

Mr. Phelps was a member of the advisory board of the Rock- 
ville Branch of the Hartford-Connecticut Trust Company, and was 
for many years vice-president of the Rockville National Bank, 
which preceded the trust company. He was also a trustee and 
for many years president of the George Sykes Manual Training 
and High School. He was president of the Connecticut Bar As- 
sociation from 1914 to 1916. 

Mr. Phelps was always a staunch supporter of the Republican 
party, while his religious faith was indicated by his loyal mem- 
bership in the Union Congregational Church. 

Along strictly professional lines, he retained membership in 
the American Bar Association and the Connecticut Bar Associa- 
tion, having served as president of the Tolland County Bar Asso- 
ciation for more than thirty years. 

He was affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fel- 
lows and the college fraternity of Psi Upsilon, was also a member 
of the Hartford Golf Club and of the Authors' Club of London, 
England. He also held membership in the Connecticut Society of 
the Sons of the American Revolution. 

His great-grandfather was a member of the First Constitu- 
tional Convention in 1818, representing the town of Somers, Con- 



Dr. Cora E. Lutz is Head of the Classics Department at Wil- 
son College, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and is an authority on 
Medieval Latin. In 1949, she was awarded a Guggenheim schol- 
arship, which enabled her to spend a year in Europe doing basic 
research on a book which will be published shortly. 

She has had three books published, all on Medieval litera- 
ture and based on the writing of Iohannis Scotti, famous scholar, 
who in the Middle Ages wrote on the Seven Arts. She not only 
translated the manuscripts, but also wrote a commentary in Eng- 
lish. The fourth book, to be issued shortly, is also on the same 
noted scholar. 

The books are used by scholars in colleges and other institu- 
tions of higher learning. 

Dr. Lutz was graduated from Rockville High School and the 
Connecticut College for Women at New London. She received 
her M.A. and her Ph.D. degrees at Yale University. She was ap- 
pointed a professor of Latin at Judson College, Marion, Alabama, 
and was later appointed assistant professor at Wilson College, 
Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and two years ago was appointed 
head of the department there. 

Miss Lutz still makes her home in Rockville, spending the sum- 
mers here. She is listed in the recent Who's Who in Eastern 
United States and she has received many honors in educational 
and literary circles. 

Dr. Lutz is a member of the American Philological Association, 
the Medieval Academy of America, Connecticut Academy of Arts 
and Sciences, the Classical Association, and Phi Beta Kappa. 


For 50 years William Churchill Hammond was a leader in mu- 
sical affairs throughout the Connecticut Valley. He carried on 
three careers — those of church organist and choirmaster, concert 
organist, and professor of music in a college. 

Born in Rockville November 28, 1860, the son of Joseph 
Churchill Hammond, Jr., and Katherine Isham Burr, he began 
playing the organ in the Second Congregational Church here Jan- 
uary 4, in his fifteenth year. In 1884, he was organist of the Pearl 
Street Congregational Church in Hartford, and the next year went 


to Holvoke, Massachusetts, and was engaged bv the Parish Com- 
mittee for one year, but continued as organist and choirmaster of 
the Holvoke Church for 50 years. 

From 1890 to 1910, Mr. Hammond made a specialty of organ 
recitals, and was in constant demand for dedication sendees of new 
organs throughout this part of the country. 

From 1890 to 1900, he was instructor of organ at Smith Col- 
lege. In 1896, he was one of the founders of the American Guild 
of Organists. 

In September of 1899, he was called to be the head of the De- 
partment of Music at Mount Holyoke College, where he was con- 
stantly employed for nearly forty years. In 1900 he formed the 
Choir which has become an important part of the Mount Holvoke 
College music program and has carried the fame of the college 
afar. From the beginning Mr. Hammond made a specialty of 
Christmas Carols, and for ten years the Glee Club of Mount Hol- 
voke rave a concert in Town Hall, New York, and visited Wash- 
ington. Philadelphia. Hartford, Boston and other cities, gaining 
for itself a great reputation. 

In 1921. when services were resumed in the rebuilt church 
after a fire, a four manual organ, with 85 stops, built by the E. M. 
Skinner Company, was installed. 

In June. 1924, he gave his 759th recital at the 75th Anniver- 
sary of the Holyoke Congregational Church, and in that year the 

degree of Doctor of Music was conferred on him bv Mount Hol- 

voke College. 


Everett J. Lake was born in Woodstock, Connecticut, Febru- 
ary 8, 1871, and died in Hartford, September 16, 1948. He lived 
in Rockville on Elm Street for a number of years, and assisted his 
father in the Thomas E. Lake Lumber Company on East Main 
Street in the rear of the Orcutt Block. 

He graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute at the age 
of 16, with the Bachelor of Science degree and two years later 
from Harvard College with the Bachelor of Arts degree. He at- 
tended the Harvard Law School for a year. 

In 1900 he was elected to the board of school visitors in Hart- 
ford. Three years later he was elected a state representative and 


in 1904 a state senator. During the World War he was in charge 
of Y.M.C.A. work at a debarkation port in France. 

He served as governor of the State one term, from 1921 to 
1923, and as lieutenant-governor from 1907 to 1909. His portrait 
is in the State Library at Hartford. 


Isaac M. Agard, Ph.D., (Amherst) the esteemed principal of 
Rockville High School for eighteen years (1888-1906) was inaugu- 
rated president of Tillotson College, Austin, Texas, in the year 
1906. He assumed the duties of the presidency with a great de- 
sire to build up the college and increase its usefulness. A Christian 
gentleman, scholar and educator with modern aims, he raised the 
standards of general scholarship and also stressed industrial edu- 
cation; domestic art was added to the course of studv on his recom- 
mendation and the largest student body the college ever had was 
enrolled during his term of office. There stands a social science 
building to which his name is attached. He was loved bv students 
and teachers. 

He resigned from Tillotson in 1918 to become dean and pro- 
fessor of education at Straight College, New Orleans, Louisiana 
(now Dillard University) where he served six years, part of one 
year acting as president. After eighteen vears' service of great 
usefulness, Dr. Agard retired to Spencer, Massachusetts, where he 
passed away on January 28, 1925. 

Graduate of the Grammar School in Rockville 

Walter Raymond Agard, professor of Classics; A.B. Amherst 
College, 1915 B. Litt., Oxford University, England. 1921; Litt. D.. 
Cornell College 1948; student Sorbonne. France, 1921-22; fellow 
American School of Classical Studies. Athens, 1922; fellow Johns 
Hopkins, 1925-26; Instructor of Greek. Amherst College. 1916-17, 
1922-23; professor of Classics and Fine Arts, St. Johns College. 
Annapolis, Marvland, 1923-27, dean. 1924-27; lecturer art historv. 
Johns Hopkins, 1924; professor of Classics, University of Wiscon- 
sin, since 1927, chairman department of Classics since 1938; mem- 
ber staff of University of Wisconsin Experimental College 1927-31; 
department of Integrated Liberal Studies since 1948; lecturer in 


classics, University of Michigan, summer, 1928. Member Arch- 
aeological Institute of America, American Philological Association, 
Classical Association Atlantic States, Classical Association Middle 
West and South (President 1943-44), American Classical League, 
(President), American Federation of Teachers, Phi Beta Kappa, 
Alpha Delta Phi, Delta Sigma Rho. Board of Directors, American 
Council of Learned Societies, 1951 — Author; The Greek Tradition 
in Sculpture, 1930; The New Architectural Sculpture, 1935; Medi- 
cal Greek and Latin, 1937; What Democracy Meant to the Greeks, 
1942, Classical Myths in Sculpture, 1950. Contributed articles on 
art, classics, and education to journals. Lecturer on ancient and 
modern art for Archaeological Institute of America, clubs, museums. 


It falls to the lot of few men to leave behind them such a 
worthy record of good citizenship as that left by Lyman Twining 
Tingier in the city of Rockville and the State of Connecticut. 

The best monument is the memory of his fellow townsmen. 
Mr. Tingier became prominent in the professional and civic af- 
fairs of Rockville and vicinity, and was recognized as a potent 
influence in the advancement of material prosperity. It is as a 
permanent benefactor of their culture, their spiritual and intel- 
lectual development that posterity will remember him. He was 
as much at home with the simplest people as with the most prom- 

Through his direct paternal line and through several collateral 
lines, Mr. Tingier descended from several of the oldest and most 
honored families of New England. His family name was originally 
Tinker and was changed by legislative act in 1857 to the present 
form of Tingier. John Tinker was the founder of the family in 

Lyman Twining Tingier was born in Webster, Massachusetts, 
June 9, 1862, and died in Rockville April 3, 1920. In 1888 he was 
graduated from Yale Law School and was soon after admitted to 
the Connecticut Bar at New Haven. 

In 1893 he was appointed Clerk of the Superior Court of Tol- 
land County in which office he continued until his death. In 
1911 he was elected Mayor of the city of Rockville, an office he 
filled with unimpeachable integrity. 

He was representative from Vernon to the House of Repre- 


sentatives and during the second term of Governor Simeon Bald- 
win, from 1913-15, was Lieutenant Governor. 

He was judge of city court of Rockville; member High School 
Committee; member of the Board of School Visitors; member of 
the Vernon Town School Committee; Director of the Savings Bank 
of Rockville. 

He died at the early age of 57. Out of respect to his memory 
the flag on the Capitol in Hartford and on the flag pole in Cen- 
tral Park in Rockville were at half mast from the time of his death 
until the funeral. His portrait in the Lieut. Governor's room in the 
Capitol was draped. He belonged to several fraternal organiza- 
tions and Union Congregational Church. 


Dwight Marcy was born June 8, 1840, in Union, Tolland 
County, Connecticut. He studied law in Hartford and was ad- 
mitted to the bar in 1865. He began practice in Plainfield, but 
on his appointment as State's Attorney for Tolland County in June, 
1867, he removed his office to Rockville where he continued until 
his death. 

In May, 1867, he was chosen assistant clerk of the House of 
Representatives of the State, and served as clerk of the same body 
the following year, and as clerk of the Senate in 1869. 

In 1878, 1879, and 1880, he was elected to represent the town 
of Vernon in the House; he was an influential member of the as- 
sembly in the first and second years of his service, and was elected 
as Speaker at the remaining session. At the time of his death he 
was the recognized leader of the bar in Tolland County. After 
having suffered from Blight's Disease for a long time, he died 
suddenly at his home May 7, 1887, at the age of 47. 

His portrait is in the Speakers room of the State Capitol. 


George Talcott was born in Hartford, January 20, 1827, in 
the days of the stage coach. When he came to Rockville, there 
was but one store in a wooden building north of the Rock Mill. 

In 1864, already a deputy sheriff, Mr. Talcott was appointed 
a justice of the peace. In those early days prior to 1887, Judge 
Talcott tried all police cases, but when the city organized the 
Police Court, he was relieved of these criminal cases. 


Judge Talcott's court room was the scene of many interesting 
cases. Here Judge Dwight Loomis fought legal battles. Here 
Edward E. Marvin, later a Commissioner of the United States 
Court, brought cases, as did Benezet H. Bill, later Judge of the 
Police Court. Mr. Charles Phelps, Secretary of State, tried his 
first case here. A. P. Hyde of Tolland also used this court room. 

The room in which Judge Talcott held court was erected by 
his father and fitted up as a court room. This was in the building 
which is now used as a parsonage and kindergarten school by the 
Union Congregational Church. 

Some idea of the amount of business a trial justice had may 
be gathered from the fact that in one year, 1885, 155 cases were 
tried, while some 50 or 60 were settled out of court after legal 
proceedings were instituted. Judge Talcott tried at least 2,500 
cases in his thirty years as trial justice. 

On his 90th birthday, he had the unique record of 53 years 
as Director of the First National Bank, President 49 years, and was 
presented with a silver loving cup. 


Frederick Swindells, 89, passed awav at Boston, September 19, 

He left school at the age of 12 to work in a mill. He came to 
America in 1869, and his first work in this country was at Beacon 
Falls, Massachusetts, where an English friend helped him to learn 
weaving. He later became a loom fixer at a mill in Mystic Bridge. 

While at Mystic Bridge, his ability was recognized and six 
months after he began working for the concern he was made over- 
seer of the weaving department. In 1874 he visited England and 
brought his parents to Milbury, Massachusetts. Upon his return, 
he became overseer and designer in one of the largest woolen 
mills in this country at the time, the Maynard plant of the Ameri- 
can Woolen Company. In 1886 he went to Fall River, Massachu- 
setts, to take charge of the Jesse Eddv Manufacturing Company as 
superintendent of the woolen mill. 

He came to Rockville in 1891 as superintendent of the Rock 
Manufacturing Company. In 1901 he became general manager 
and soon began buying out the various stockholders. Ultimately 
he became sole owner of the mill. 


The Rock Manufacturing Company was the first in this coun- 
try to manufacture overcoat cloth for the French government in 
1914. When the United States entered World War I, he offered 
the entire production of the mill for government use, and during 
the time it was used for this purpose, enough material was woven 
to make 500,000 overcoats. 

He was a member of the Washington Commandery, Knights 
Templar, Hartford, and a trustee of the Johnson Memorial Hos- 
pital in Stafford Springs. 

Many worthy charities have benefited by his generosity 
through individual donations and his allotment of funds from the 
Frederick W. Swindells Charitable Foundation. He lived quietly 
and his devotion to home and family manifested itself in the form 
of a Carillon Tower at the Hill Crest Park Cemetery, Springfield, 

Among the charities is the special fund for the care of Rock- 
ville patients who need attention and cannot afford to pay for care 
at both St. Francis and Hartford Hospitals in Hartford. 


Benezet Hough Bill was bora February 26, 1829, at New Mil- 
ford, Pennsylvania, and received his primary education in the state 
of his birth. When but six years old he made the trip with his 
parents to Connecticut. His first school teacher was his father. 
Later he attended the Lebanon Academy, the Suffield Literary 
Institute, and the Academy at Wilbraham, Massachusetts. He 
taught school at Lebanon, Connecticut, and in 1851 entered the 
law office of Hon. Dwight Loomis at Rockville, and graduated 
from the Yale Law School at New Haven in the class of 1854 with 
the degree of B.L. 

Possessing fine natural talent and superior qualifications, he 
established in a very brief period not only a remunerative business, 
but a most excellent reputation as a citizen and a grand and kindly 
gentleman. In 1869 he was appointed State's Attornev for Tolland 
County, and held the office for twenty-four years. He held the 
position of Judge of the Rockville City Court for manv years, re- 
signing in 1899, owing to the age limit. For a number of vears he 
was corporation counsel and prosecuting attornev. 

He was one of the first lawyers to practice in the countv of 



Lebbeus Bissell was born January 8, 1810, at Wolcottville (now 
Torrington) Connecticut. When a boy of ten he came to Vernon 
to live with his uncle, Lebbeus P. Tinker, a prominent citizen, mer- 
chant, postmaster, and for 30 years, 1815-45, town clerk. The trip 
by team, there being no other way of transportation at that time, 
was a great adventure for the boy. He arrived with his father at 
Uncle Tinker's home on April 1, 1820. 

He stayed with his uncle at Vernon until he was twenty-one 
years of age, and under his guidance received his first training 
in business. He attended school in Vernon, and in 1825 spent six 
months in the first term of the famous John Hall School at Elling- 

In 1835, in companv with Bela Abbott, he took charge of the 
mercantile business of Lebbeus P. Tinker, the new firm name be- 
ing Bissell & Abbott. This partnership continued for about five 
years, when Mr. Bissell became sole proprietor. 

Mr. Bissell continued in the mercantile business in Vernon 
until November, 1847, when he removed his stock of goods to Rock- 
ville, bought out the interest of George Maxwell in the firm of 
White & Maxwell, and with Stanlev White formed the new firm 
of White & Bissell. The business was located on the southwest 
corner of West Main and Union Streets. The firm was in existence 
about ten vears when Mr. Bissell sold out to George Groves, E. S. 
Henry and Joseph Selden. Soon after this Mr. Bissell built a 
handsome block on West Main Street, almost opposite Vernon 
Avenue, where he resumed business and continued until the end 
of his mercantile career, when he disposed of his business to Cyrus 
White. About 1870 was established the insurance firm of L. Bis- 
sell & Son which has grown and developed into a leading insur- 
ance business. 

In 1824, when a boy of fourteen, Mr. Bissell took a trip to 
Sturbridge, Massachusetts, which he never forgot. He accom- 
panied Simeon Cooley, who was taking in a load of teasels (used 
to raise a nap on woolen cloth ) . While in Sturbridge he saw the 
Marquis de Lafayette. 

In 1836 Mr. Bissell cast his first Presidential vote for Martin 
VanBuren, and voted for everv Democratic candidate during his 
life, though he did not enter actively into politics. He died at the 
age of 93 years. 



Honorable Stevens Henry at an early age became a resident 
of Rockville where he attended the local schools. During early 
manhood he went into the dry goods business. As Mr. Henry 
succeeded in business, so his position and influence in the town be- 
came increasingly useful. He was among the most prominent of 
those who founded the industrial and business growth of Rock- 

In 1882 he was elected to the State Legislature. In 1888 he 
was nominated and elected State treasurer, and served until 1913. 
He was Rockville's third mayor, and was elected to Congress for 
four successive terms, from 1895-1913. 

His public bequests totaled approximately $300,000. The 
Rockville City Hospital received a bequest of $100,000, the City of 
Rockville received Fox Hill, valued at $25,000, for a public park 
and $25,000 in cash for improving the grounds; the Henry Build- 
ing, located in the center of Rockville, was given to the town of 
Vernon, and the town was also remembered with a presentation 
of $30,000 to build a mortuary chapel at Grove Hill cemetery. The 
High School, Connecticut Agricultural College and the Connecti- 
cut Historical Society were also remembered. 

He was a lover of nature and the great outdoors. In his ex- 
tremely busy life he found spare moments to devote to the studv of 
agricultural pursuits, evolving plans for the betterment of this ac- 
tivity. He was the owner of a fine herd of thoroughbred Jerseys 
and took great pride in his splendid stock farm. He was a lover of 
flowers, and had a beautiful rose garden. A gentleman of the old 
school, he was chivalrous and ever thoughtful of others. 


The coming of George Maxwell to Rockville in 1847 brought 
industrial development. He was a descendant of Hugh Maxwell, 
a "minute-man" of Lexington, and a lieutenant colonel in the Mas- 
sachusetts forces in the Revolutionary War. 

The grandson George was born in Charlemont, Massachusetts. 
July 30, 1817. After he had opened a general store at the south- 
west corner of Main and Union Streets, Rockville — on grounds 
which he and his children were later to beautifv as their place of 
residence — he became identified with the New England Manufac- 



turing Company, which Allen Hammond and George Kellogg had 
started in 1836. 

Allen Park Hammond, David Sykes, Charles Bottomley and 
George Sykes became closely associated with George Maxwell, or, 
as he was known, "Deacon" Maxwell. Under the able leadership 
of George Maxwell the mills made great progress. In 1880 his 
oldest son, Francis Taylor Maxwell, went to work for the Hocka- 
num mill as bookkeeper and secretary, and became treasurer and 
president upon the death of his father, April 2, 1891. In 1906, 
the Hockanum Mills Company was organized as a holding corpo- 
ration with $6,000,000. capital with Francis T. Maxwell as presi- 
dent. Four companies were combined: The Hockanum, The 
Springville, The New England, and The Minterburn (or the former 
Warp Mill reconstructed). 

Francis T. Maxwell was born in Rockville, January 4, 1861, 
educated in the public schools, and was a member of the class of 
1880, Rockville High School. In 1896 he was elected a member of 
the City Common Council; in 1898 he represented the town in 
the House of Representatives of the General Assembly; in 1900 he 
was elected to the State Senate by the voters of the 23rd District; 



and in 1892 was commissioned Aide-de-Camp with the title of 
Colonel on Governor Morgan G. Bulkeley's staff. 

Colonel Maxwell has enshrined himself for all time in the 
hearts of the people. He had a skillful hand: he sewed up the 
seams of discord; he had a radiant mind; and he had a generous 
heart, whose quiet benefactions reached innumerable homes. 



George Sykes, born of an ancestry of skilled woolen workers 
on April 4, 1840, died on December 23, 1903. He came from Hon- 
ley, Huddersfield, Yorkshire, England. When he was eleven years 
of age he came to America, and found employment in the woolen 
mills of E. S. Hall and Company at Millville, Massachusetts. At 
the age of fourteen he was placed in the carding room, and in 
1863 was given charge of the weaving in the woolen mills of 
Frederick Fullerton & Company of Cavendish, Vermont, where his 
marked efficiency gave him within a year the position of Super- 
intendent of the mills. 

In the year 1866 he came to Rockville to assume the manage- 
ment of the Hockanum Mills. With tireless energy he introduced 
new equipment and business methods, and sought to make the 
Hockanum brand of goods the best in the country. 

It was in the twilight of his years that he passed away. Fu- 
neral services were held on a day of a severe storm, December 26, 
in Union Congregational Church of which he was a faithful mem- 
ber. At that service the Rev. Dr. Charles E. McKinley, his pastor, 
paid this noble tribute: 

"Of all the men I have ever known, Mr. Sykes was one of 
the most genuine. He loved the sincere, the solid, the sub- 
stantial, the enduring; and he was what he loved. He hated 
all sham and pretense and make-believe with a most righteous 
hatred. Deceit and trickery of every kind were foreign to his 
nature. He would rather fight a man any day than deceive 
him. In the goods he made, and in the men he loved as friends, 
required the qualities that will wear. If he built a house, 
or helped to build a church, it must be not only fair and beau- 
tiful, but substantial and enduring. If he bought a picture to 


hang upon his walls, it must be a real thing of beauty that 
would be a lasting joy, not a piece of prettiness that would 
soon lose its charm. 

The same love of sincerity and reality appeared in his 
religion. If he acknowledged fewer religious obligations than 
some, he lived up to what he did acknowledge better than 
most. Speaking to me once of his preference — a very 
natural preference, indeed — for the substantial things of his 
native England over the more showy ways of France, he told 
me, with a tenderness that I rejoice to recall today, that he 
was baptized in infancy by the same minister that had bap- 
tized his mother as a child before him and had continued all 
those years in the service of the same parish. He loved en- 
during truth, and he loved the men and the institutions that 
embodied such truth in themselves. We take comfort today, 
as we bid him an earthly farewell, in remembering that this 
man had his feet firmly planted on the Rock of Ages." 


Thomas W. Sykes came to Rockville from North Adams, Mas- 
sachusetts, where for thirty-three years he had carried the large 
responsibilities of superintendent and general manager of the 
North Adams Manufacturing Company. Beginning as a boy work- 
ing on a broad loom at Millville, Massachusetts, he advanced step 
by step in the woolen industry until he was recognized as one of 
the most capable managers of his day. 

He was born in Yorkshire, England, November 16, 1842, then 
after a long and successful period in Massachusetts took up his 
residence in Rockville, Connecticut, in the year 1906 as the head 
of the Minterburn Manufacturing Company. Here he established 
an attractive home at the corner of Davis and Ellington Avenues, 
but to the regret of the entire community he died three years 
later — Wednesday, July 21, 1909. He was a Christian gentleman 
with large vision and fair judgment. 


James T. Sykes, whose death occurred at Rockville on Novem- 
ber 19, 1894, at the early age of thirty-nine years, was from boy- 
hood a resident of Rockville, where he was highly esteemed. Born 
in 1855, at Millville, he came to Rockville at the age of fourteen 


and entered the mill of the Hockanum Company, familiarizing him- 
self with the work of every department until he was made super- 
intendent. His sturdy character and honesty of purpose in all 
things were greatly admired by the community. 


Born February 2, 1858, at Millville, Massachusetts, David A. 
Sykes began his career in the humblest position in the mills. He 
started as a bobbin boy, and by dint of tireless pertinacity he be- 
came a weaver, a designer, assistant superintendent, and finally 
general superintendent. He was the first superintendent of the 
new Springville Mill. He liked the average workingman, and was 
a friend to everybody. 

He served well the city in a civic capacity as a member of the 
City Council, representing the First Ward for seven years; also 
as a director of bank, library, and Sykes High School. 

He was exceedingly fond of Union Congregational Church, 
where he regularly occupied a central pew. He was particularly 
fond of a Boy's Band. Not many knew his ability as a talented 

He belonged to the fraternal organization of Fayette Lodge No. 
69, the Knights Templar, and Sphinx Temple of the Mystic Shrine. 

Rich and poor, employers and employees had great confidence 
in David A. Sykes. His beautiful home on Elm Street was sold to 
the Veterans of Foreign Wars. 



Antoni Nicholas Sadlak was born at Rockville on June 13, 1908. 
A graduate of Rockville High School, Mr. Sadlak took the pre- 
legal course at Georgetown College and was granted the LL.B. 
degree from Georgetown University School of Law, Washington, 
D. C. After a few months with a private concern, he became a 
special inspector with the Special Inspections Service of the United 
States Justice Department, and then served as executive secretary 
to Congressman at Large B. J. Monkiewicz, of Connecticut. In 
March, 1944, he resigned this position to accept a commission in 
the United States Naval Reserve. After training, he was assigned 
as communications watch officer and top secret officer on the staff 
of Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid, commander of the Seventh Fleet. 


His duty carried him to New Guinea, the Philippines and China. 
As Representative-at-Large, from the State of Connecticut, he has 
served four terms in Congress. A member of the powerful Ways 
and Means Committee, he has also been a member of the Sub-com- 
mittee on Administration of Internal Revenue Laws, and the Com- 
mittee on Committees. 


Brig. General John W. Middleton, a native of Melrose, Con- 
necticut, and a graduate of Rockville High School, has just retired 
from his army career after 35 years of service. Graduated from 
West Point in 1918, he served in Europe after the end of the first 
World War. Returning to this country, he moved from post to post 
— an instructor of mathematics at West Point from 1924-29, and as 
an ROTC instructor at Ohio State University from 1930-36. He 
served under Generals Stilwell and Wedemeyer in China and then 
under General George Marshall all during the latter's diplomatic 
mission to China after the War. 

Middleton aided in preparing the Chinese army for its inva- 
tion of Burma and of East China. 

Later Middleton served as army attache in India from 1947 
to 1949. 

General Middleton holds the Legion of Merit for his work in 
China during the war. He was also awarded the First Class Medal 
of the Chinese Army, Navy, and Air Force for his services which 
included directing the Chinese Training Center of the Army and 
serving as deputy chief of staff which helped the Chinese to drive 
the Japanese out of southwest China opening up the Burma road. 
He also served as president of the War Crimes Commission in China 
after the War. 



Carl McKinley was born October 9, 1895, at Yarmouth, Maine, 
son of a Congregational clergyman who removed soon afterwards 
to Rockville, Connecticut, where most of his boyhood was passed. 
In 1911 the family moved to Galesburg, Illinois, where he entered 
Knox Conservatory of Music and also spent two years in Knox 
College, from which he received the degree of Bachelor of Music 
in 1915. Entering Harvard the next year, he was awarded the 
Bachelor of Arts degree in 1917 with special honors in music. A fel- 
lowship from Harvard enabled him to spend the next winter in 
New York, studying composition with Ruben Goldmark and organ 
with Gaston M. Dethier. The following spring he accepted the 
position of organist and choirmaster of the Center Congregational 
Church of Hartford, Connecticut, where in addition to a large mod- 
ern organ he had at his disposal a chorus choir of twenty-five 
voices which attracted wide notice for the excellence of its work. 
In addition to his church duties, Mr. McKinley had a large class 
of private pupils, and for a time acted as organist for one of the 
principal moving picture theatres of Hartford. 

In 1923 he accepted an offer to become organist of the Capi- 
tol Theatre, New York City, at that time the largest picture the- 
atre in the world, and later acted for some time as assistant con- 
ductor of the Capitol Orchestra of eighty men, which ranked with 
the best symphonic organizations in New York. 

In 1927 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for Euro- 
pean study, and spent the following year in Paris working in com- 
position with Mile. Nadia Boulanger; a renewal of the fellowship 
having been granted, a second year was spent in Munich, part of 
which was devoted to a detailed study of the Munich Opera, where 
Mr. McKinley was solo coach and stage assistant. 

Returning to America in the fall of 1929 he was engaged by 
the late George W. Chadwick as lecturer of Music History and in- 
structor in Composition at the New England Conservatory of 
Music; he later became head of the Theory Department, as well 
as instructor in organ at the Conservatory. In June, 1930, Mr. Mc- 
Kinley received the honorary degree of Doctor of Music from Knox 
College. In September, 1931, he was appointed organist and choir- 
master of the Old South Church in Boston, where he presides over 



one of the largest and finest organs in New England. He has 
built up the Old South Church Choir into a choral organization of 
the first rank, which until the outbreak of the war gave several 
programs each season of oratorio and choral selections which at- 
tracted wide attention. 

As a composer Mr. McKinley first attracted attention while at 
Harvard with a motet for mixed voices, "The Man of Galilee," 
which won the Francis Boott Prize, a sonata for violin and piano, 
and an orchestral sketch entitled "Indian Summer Idyl" which was 
first performed by the orchestra of the New England Conservatory 
under Mr. Chadwick in May, 1917. 

A symphonic poem, "The Blue Flower" was awarded the 
Flagler prize in 1921, and subsequently performed by both the 
New York Philharmonic and Chicago Symphony orchestras. With 
his third symphonic venture, "Masquerade," Mr. McKinley scored 
a real hit. First performed under the composer's direction at a 
New York Stadium concert in 1926, it has since had over thirty 
performances by leading symphonic organizations in America, in- 
cluding those of New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Syra- 
cuse and Boston (the symphony concerts of January 16 and 17, 
1931) and in various German cities, including Munich and Breslau. 
■Since that time Mr. McKinley has written a String Quartet, a 
Chorale, Variations and Fugue for Orchestra (recently performed 
at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester) and numerous small 
pieces, especially for organ, quite a number of which are published 
by J. Fischer & Brother and the H. W. Gray Company of New 

With regard to Mr. McKinley 's organ playing, the following 
comments were included in a review of a concert in Providence, 

Rhode Island, by the critic of the Providence Journal: 

"A few minutes of his organ playing were enough to show 
that here was an artist of unusual talents and that his abilities as 
a performer were equal to his gifts of composition. His playing 
showed absolute security of technique and all the mechanics which 
give adequate equipment for all organistic needs. When one adds 
to these a very high degree of musicality which gives fine artistry 
to all of the varied offerings of a widely comprehensive program, 
it must be evident that this was not only a very enjoyable per- 
formance but that it was on a very high plane of artistic expres- 


The Worcester Telegram (March 14, 1944) had the following 
to say regarding a recital in All Saints Church: 

"Dr. McKinley is an organist of virtuoso stature. His program 
had balance and exceptional merit. Technically and interpretively 
it was a privileged evening of organ music." 


The Fourth of July was a busy day in the life of the Ham- 
monds on Elm Street. Father "J oe m the early morning light 
called to the boys in bed to be ready for their annual patriotic 
demonstration. After a hasty breakfast, the family started on their 
curious parade: William Churchill Hammond, a thrilled boy of 
eight years, smote his snare drum lustily. Before him his ex- 
soldier father blew his fife in martial tunes. Behind him brother 
Charles Hammond hugged a base drum, and behind the drum, 
Mother Hammond handled the base drum sticks. 

And the parade was on — through the streets of the sleeping 
city, the Hammond Drum and Fife Quartette passed. 

In 1868, these two boys, proficient drummers, appeared on 
numerous occasions in the city. They went to Hartford and 
drummed in a parade there. They were so small that they could 
not march, so they rode in a carriage while they drummed. And 
their success in drumming resulted in the organization a few years 
later by J. C. Hammond, Jr., of the Hammond Silver Drum Corps. 


In the year 1870, General Ulysses S. Grant accepted an invi- 
tation to visit Connecticut and to speak at Woodstock on the 4th 
of July. It proved to be a memorable event. Crowds greeted the 
President on his arrival in Hartford, where he was the guest of 
Governor Jewell. A public reception was held at the Allyn House. 
The president was escorted by the Governor's Food Guard with 
the Armory Band of Springfield, and the City Guard with Colt's 
Band. There was a reception in the evening on the illuminated 
grounds of the Governor's residence, with a display of fireworks. 

Vernon people had a delightful part in the visit of the Presi- 
dent. Early Monday morning, July 4th, a special train left Hartford 
and proceeded to Putnam via Plainfield. Henry Ward Beecher 
rode on the new engine, "Governor Jewell," from Bolton to Plain- 



field. The train stopped at Manchester, Vernon, Willimantic, Baltic 
and Plainfield. 

Superintendent McManus of the Hartford, Providence and 
Fishkill Railroad had thoughtfully planned to have the two Ham- 
mond boys — proficient drummers — Will Hammond, eight years of 
age and Charles, five years of age — play for the President. 

As the train pulled in at the depot the boys saluted the Gen- 
eral on the platform and then demonstrated their musical ability. 
The President shook their hands heartily and warmly congratulat- 
ed them. 

The excursion to Vernon carried hundreds of Rockville people 
to greet the president, but there was one rift in the lute, one dis- 
cordant note in the joyous occasion. Only one individual from 
Rockville had the pleasure of a formal introduction to the Repub- 
lican President, and he was the staunchest Democrat in the State — 
a democrat emphatically — Lebbeus Bissell. 

The Woodstock visit was a huge success. The brilliant Henry 
Ward Beecher was one of the speakers. President Grant and a 
few others later repaired to the lawn in front of the Academy, and 
there the Grant elm tree was planted. 

(The Daily Graphic, New York, October 15, 1877). 



In 1876, the Hammond Silver Drum Corps was organized 
under the inspirational leadership of J. C. Hammond, Jr. This 
juvenile drum band was composed of boys from ten to sixteen 
years of age, and became famous throughout New England. 
Often they were invited to participate in various celebrations. 
They appeared in red shirts and white pants, with a tall, colored 
drum major at their head. 

Here are the names of the original Hammond Drum Corps: 

Howard K. James aged 10 A. T. Thompson aged 14 

George G. Smith " 10 Fred Mills " 15 

Elmer E. Pember " 12 W. J. Austin " 16 

Irving C. Treat " 12 Clarence T. Bolles " 16 

C. H. Hammond " 13 W. C. Hammond " 16 

William Nelson, drum major, colored, over 6 ft. 

They accompanied the Hartford City Guard to the White 
Mountains, N. H., and enjoyed their hospitality for two weeks. 
They were entertained at the Glen House on Sunday, July 6, 1884, 
and a copy of the elaborate menu is the precious possession of a 
few people in Rockville in these days. 

The Daily Graphic, New York, carried a picture of the Ham- 
mond Silver Drum Corps in parade, in their issue of Monday, 
October 15, 1877. 


The Hammond Silver Drum Corps was reorganized after a 
few years and its name changed to the Rockville Drum Corps. It 
met with great success for several years. Colonel Amos Pease in 
1872 engineered the first of a series of five Drummers' Conventions, 
beginning at Somers; the second re-union was held at Ellington, 
the third at Stafford, and the fourth and fifth at Rockville. 

The convention of 1876 at Rockville brought a hundred drum- 
mers and fifers from adjacent counties. They had come to com- 
pete for honors. On the veranda of the Rockville House were 
piled stacks of drums of various shapes and sizes. They woke the 

The line of march was through Main, Union, Village, Orchard, 
Main, Vernon Avenue, Brooklyn, Market, Elm, Prospect, Main and 
Park Streets to Talcott Park, where competition for prizes took 
place. While the procession was marching, the church and mill 


bells and steam whistles helped by their joyous sounds to swell 
the chorus, and there was a general hubbub the like of which 
was never heard before. 


Drum sticks Sergeant Hubbard, New Britain 

Fife Joseph Heck, Hartford 

Cloth Thomas Lloyd, Willimantic 

Cloth O. G. Hanks, Mansfield 

Chromo W. C. Hammond, Rockville 

The veteran horse of J. C. Hammond was brought into requisi- 
tion and Joe rigged out in Yankee Doodle style, and with drum 
strapped upon his back and a six-foot fife in his hand. Various 
stories of the convention were told: Some claim that the music 
was heard as far as Chicago, and the sound reaching there in the 
night time, the mayor ordered the fire bells to be rung as an alarm, 
supposing that the southern marauders were marching on the 
city. When the first blast was given by the veterans, the proprietors 
of the "New York Sun" hearing the sound immediately dispatched 
a reporter to the spot, hence the excellent report in that paper. 

In the summer of 1884 the Rockville Drum Corps escorted 
the Hartford City Guard Company to the top of Mt. Washington. 
The members of the drum corps went to Hartford by horse drawn 
conveyances. They remained in Hartford all night, camping in 
the armory there. They started at day break the next morning with 
the Hartford City Guards for Boston. There they boarded a train 
for Portland. They were entertained royally when they arrived 
in the Maine city. A person who was with the corps at the time 
said that none of them could spend any money. They even had 
their boots blacked free. Their headquarters were at the old 
Falmouth Hotel. Those were the days when Maine was the only 
prohibition state in the Union. So cards were distributed to the 
members to visit a certain part of the hotel "if they were sick." 
It is said that nearly everyone in the party reported sick. 

They had a trip around Casco Bay and took the train again 
for Gorham in the White Mountains. From there they went to 
the Glen House by stage coaches. 

The next day everyone was up early, for it was decided to 
march to the top of Mt. Washington. It was a very hot day in 
the middle of summer. It was a sorry looking crowd that finally 
arrived at the top, tired, dirty and hungry. Williver Driggs of 
Vernon, who was bass drummer, carried the old bass drum to the 
top of the mountain. 



Frederick Kuhnly, born in Rockville, started his musical career 
when he was eight years old. He took his first vocal lesson 
at the age of 17, with Mrs. Percy Cooley as teacher, and his 
first public appearance was in Union Church Choir under 
the direction of Wesley Howard of Hartford. At the age of 
18, he went to New York and entered the Institute of Musical 
Art. He became tenor soloist in the Old Bergen Reform Church 
and Temple Emanuel, New York City. Concert work fol- 
lowed, then radio. He was one of the pioneers of commercial 
programs. He did work also in Broadway musicals. 

He was vocalist at the Capitol Theater for a season, record- 
ing for Columbia and Victor recording companies. He was 
associated with such radio sponsors as General Motors, West- 
inghouse, Socony Oil, Prudential Life, Cities Service, Atwater 
Kent, Telephone Hour, Firestone and others. He served on 
the staff at Columbia Broadcasting Company for three years, 
and was soloist at the World's Fair in the "Railroads on Parade" 

The Talcott Brass Band of 28 pieces gave a concert in the First 
Congregational Church of Rockville as early as February 6, 

Rockville City Band of 27 pieces made its initial bow to the public 
on Washington's Birthday, February 22, 1919, in an elaborate 
Concert and Ball at Turn Hall. 

Francis "Cork" O'Keefe, of New York City, managed successfully 
for years the famous Casa Loma Orchestra. He was a gradu- 
ate of Rockville High School, and lived as a boy at 142 Union 
Street with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Patrick O'Keefe. 

Frank C. Eidam enlisted with the West Point Band at the Academy 
in 1922. For 25 years he was a drummer. He retired in 1952 
with 30 years of service to his credit. 

John Gworek joined the West Point Band, and was transferred to 
the United States Marine Band. He retired in 1954 with 30 
years of service. 

Lester Ludke pianist, Harry Goldfield trumpet and assistant direc- 
tor of Paul Whiteman's orchestra. 


Emil Dintch for nearly 30 years a drummer at West Point. 

Jack Keeney, tenor saxophonist, with several of the country's name 

Harry Brown trombonist with 13th Infantry Band, Fort Adams, 
New York. 

Bruno Ertel, clarinetist with Creatore's Band in California for many 
years. He died in 1952, aged 84 years. 

William Fay, cornetist for several years with Barnum and Bailey's 

The Brandenburg family, Billie, Pete, Herman and Paul, four very 
talented musicians. Billie with Sousa's Band several years. 

George P. Windheiser, for many years a talented and popular 
musician, who with his father owned and operated success- 
fully a music store on the Boardwalk in Bockville. 

Miss Mariette N. Fitch, teacher and encourager of many talented 

St. Bernard's Band organized fifty years ago. 

The Polish Boys' Band, John Loalbo, director. 

The Elks Boys' Band, Max Kabrick, conductor. 

The Citizens Band, sponsored a Roller Skating Rink Concert at the 
old Envelope Shop in 1882. Floor space 90 x 40 ft. 

Ernest Hensig's Band. 

Rockville Fife and Drum Corps. 

American Legion Drum and Bugle Corps. 

From 1890 to 1940 Rockville was noted for its celebrated minstrel 
organizations. There were ten local troups, among the more 
prominent and active were The Mastodon Minstrels organized 
in 1904; Pythian Club Minstrels organized in 1908; the Sunny- 
side Minstrels; Elks Minstrels; Red Men Minstrels; St. John's 
Temperance Society Minstrels; and the Rockville Baseball 
Club Minstrels. 

The Fortnightly Musical Club formed in 1911 to foster young 
talent in the community. 



Rockville Male Chorus with a membership of 30, organized at 
the home of George G. Smith on January 9, 1912. 

Rockville Junior Music Club organized by pupils of Miss Edith 
Ransom, teacher, and affiliated with the State Federation of 
Music Clubs. 

The Liedertafel Singing Society organized in 1876 by a group of 
German residents, and still in existence. The Society has won 
many prizes in State contests. 

The Ampion Quintel of Rockville: tenors, Messrs. T. Wm. Stur- 
geon, C. W. Gorman, C. W. Hale; basses, Messrs. E. H. Dorr 
and A. E. Waite. 




A patriarch of Rockville, signing himself "Veteran" in the 
Evening Post of Hartford many years ago, described graphically 
a baseball game, the first Fourth of July celebration in Rockville, 
in the year 1825, 130 years ago. There were three important 
public celebrations in those years — Fast Day, Fourth of July and 

"It came to pass that the Rock Mill shut down at 12 o'clock 
and all the male operatives were called into the field to play 
baseball. Mr. George Kellogg and Mr. Ralph Talcott were prin- 
cipals in the game. All hands engaged in the celebration with 
zeal. It was fashionable in old times to take a little sour punch 
on the fourth of July. So between the innings the pail of punch 
came around, and we drank a cup each time of half-a-pint. The 
expense of the celebration was $2.46. Twenty men were assessed 
12^ cents each, which sum was found sufficient to pay the bills — 
the three quarts of rum, 60 cents; small loaf of sugar, 60 cents; two 
dozen lemons, 48 cents; four pounds of cheese, 32 cents; 4 pounds 
crackers, 32 cents, in all — $2.32. For going after spirits, 14 cents. 
Therefore, every expense was balanced to the entire satisfaction 
of the company and without disaster. I fancy some few persons 
will sigh to read the story about drinking, but I can assure you 
that it was considered unsafe to bear extreme heat or cold without 
taking a little sling." 



Everybody celebrated the Fourth here back in the 1860's. 
It was the general rule to have four picnics on that day. 

The Good Templars' picnic was held in Talcott Grove where 
the F. T. Maxwell residence now stands. All temperance drinks 
were served and plenty to eat. A clam bake with all the fixings 
was a feature. There was also cake, ice cream and ice cold lemon- 
ade, good music and dancing. 

A short distance north of the Talcott Grove in Doane's Grove, 
the Rockville German Turners Society held its picnic. Good music 



and dancing, plenty to eat and drink. Everyone made merry. 
Lemonade, ginger pop, and cool lager were some of the favorite 
drinks. Drinking out of a horn was quite the thing, and the 
new beginner drinking out of a horn was as good as a circus. 

At Grant's Grove on Talcott Avenue, the Rockville German 
Sick and Singing Society had its picnic. 

At Winchell's Grove, now part of Pillsbury Hill, the St. Ber- 
nard's Temperance Society held its picnic. To see the Irish reel 
and jig dancing was something. Temperance drinks were served. 

The Rockville Baseball Association of over 80 members was 
organized on April 26, 1878. Officers were: President, George 
Talcott; Vice-Pres., M. W. Pember; Secretary, E. L. Heath; Treas- 
urer, J. L. Washborn. The grounds were located on the Grant 
Lot, west of Orchard Street, at the foot of Talcott Avenue. There 
were two acres of land with entrances on Union and Orchard 
Streets. The grandstand was on the west end of the ball park, and 
the bleachers were on the north and south sections of the ground. 

The Rockville Athletic Club was organized in 1918, with the 
original meeting place in White's Opera House, corner of Market 
and Brooklyn Streets. Roy Martin, Roger J. Murphy and William 
Hahn were active in its organization and subsequent operation. 
Pliney Krause was the prime mover in organizing this club. 

Polo was a popular sport at the turn of the century in Rock- 
ville. The city had a team in the Western New England Polo 
League with Hartford. Middletown, Waterbury, New Haven, New 
Britain, Meriden and Springfield. The first local game was played 
in the Town Hall, November 8, 1899. About 250 people were 

Shenipset Golf Club course was laid out in July, 1896, by 
Robert D. Pryde, New Haven. The grounds were beautifully situ- 
ated on the west shore of the lake. It was originally laid out for 
private purposes on land owned by Francis T. and William Max- 
well, and William H. Prescott. The full length of the course was 
1,427 yards. In May of 1897 the Club was formed with the follow- 
ing officers: President, William Maxwell; Vice-President, Miss 
Lida Prescott; Secretary and Treasurer, A. T. Bissell. The course 
was lengthened to 1,930 yards and the membership grew to 93. 
Dances and parties were held frequently at the Clubhouse built 
in the same year of 1897. 

A Cricket Club of Rockville belonged to a league which in- 
cluded Hartford, Holyoke and Springfield. 



Everett J. Lake of Rockville was not only a Governor of the 
State of Connecticut, but also a star half-back of the Harvard Foot- 
ball Team. He played against Yale at Springfield, Massachusetts, 
in 1891, and was a member of the Harvard Varsity in 1892. He 
was named on the All- American team in 1891. 

Lebbeus Bissell, a leading business man in Rockville, 
brought fame to the local city, when as a college student at Yale 
he played right tackle on the Varsity. The Yale News for Monday, 
November 9, 1903, describing the Yale-Syracuse game of the pre- 
vious Saturday, says this of Bissell: "In the first half of the game, 
Bissell in the line was the only man who was doing any work. 
He used to run with the ball frequently. In the second half, two 
touchdowns were scored by Bissell." 

Chester Waite, known as "Chet," brother of Mayor Albert 
Waite, played baseball with the Rockville team in 1904, 1905 and 
1906. His unusual ability brought him a contract with the Spring- 
field Eastern League Ball Club. He reached the majors when he 
won a place on the Chicago White Sox team of the American 

It was a memorable day, August 13, 1904, when Christy 
Mathewson, one of baseball's all time "greats," pitched and John 
Scanlon caught for the Rockville team against Manchester. 

Eddie Collins, another baseball great played with Rockville 
in the summer of 1906 at the very start of his distinguished career. 
He was a fast little short stop and later became varsity coach 
for Columbia. 

Pliny Roy, who was in charge of ticket sales says that 2800 
were sold, and he suspects that two or three hundred more man- 
aged to get in without paying. 

With the great National League hurler sparking the team, 
the game ended with Rockville winning 5 to 2. Mathewson had 
twelve strikeouts to his credit. 

At the time of this game, Rockville was leading the "big four" 
with a record of six wins and four losses. Behind Rockville, and 
in this order were Willimantic, Manchester, and Bristol. 

What Mathewson was paid for his part of the game is not 
known, $250 or $200. He was brought here by Manager Waite 
of the Rockville team. 



During the early eighties Rockville was prominent for its 
bicycle riders who competed with much success at various county 
fairs and athletic events in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Among 
the more successful local bicycle riders were Will Tracy, who 
won several champion races ranging from one mile to five miles, 
and ranking a close second Herbert T. Holmes, still living at the 
ripe old age of 90 at his home, 16 Prospect Street, where he has 
resided for many years. 

Mr. Holmes proudly exhibits to his many friends and acquaint- 
ances two beautiful solid silver ornamental vases with tops, and 
standing 12 inches high, which he won in contests at the Stafford 
Fair in October, 1884, winning first prize in the five mile race 
and second to Champion Tracy in the mile race. 

The Rockville Wheel Club was organized September 1, 1891. 

A magnificent cycling event at Hyde Park was held Saturday 
afternoon, July 8, 1893. Some of the greatest riders in the world 
were there. Among the cyclists of national reputation were A. A. 
Zimmerman, W. F. and C. M. Murphy, Carl Hess and George C. 
Smith of the New York Athletic Club, W. W. Windle and E. A. 
Nelson of Springfield, Mass., and Walter C. Sanger, Milwaukee. 

In 1893, there were 27 manufacturers of bicycles. In 1899, it 
was estimated 1200 persons in the town of Vernon rode a wheel. 
Some daring females even donned bloomers, much to the horror 
of the more conservative. 

General Tom Thumb was here for a week in 1849 with the 
famous P. T. Barnum's show, later Barnum & Bailey Circus. (In 
legend Tom Thumb was a dwarf no larger than a man's thumb. 
He lived in the reign of King Arthur, the real or legendary 6th 
century King of the Britons. He was killed by the poisonous 
breath of a spider.) 

The name of our General Tom Thumb was Charles S. Stratton, 
and he lived in Bridgeport. When he was five years old, he was 
not two feet high, and weighed less than sixteen pounds. In No- 
vember, 1842, he was engaged by P. T. Barnum for four weeks 
at $3 per week and expenses, and was exhibited at his museum 
in New York City under the title of General Tom Thumb. At the 
end of four weeks he was engaged for one year at $7.00 a week 
and expenses of himself and parents, with the privilege of exhibit- 


ing anywhere in the United States with a gratuity of $50 at the end 
of the season. 

He went to England in the year 1844. He was presented to 
Her Majesty the Queen, Prince Albert, the Duchess of Kent and 
nobility. Upon being asked bv Queen Victoria to sing them a 
song, he sang, "Yankee Doodle." The Queen presented him with 
a gold watch and chain, putting the chain about his neck herself. 
He went also to France. King Louis Philippe presented him with 
a large emerald brooch set with diamonds. From France, he went 
to Belgium. 

In 1862 Lavinia Warren, of Middleboro, Massachusetts, was 
engaged by Barnum. Tom Thumb met her there, and on February 
10, 1863, married her in New York City in Grace Church. They 
went on a wedding tour, and had the extreme pleasure of calling 
on Abraham Lincoln. 


George M. Brown writes of a hundred years ago — 

"I well remember the first parade on the streets of Rockville 
in the show line. It was P. T. Barnum's Tom Thumb Show. It 
was in 1849. It was the first show given in what was Sears' Hall 
on Market Street, the first public hall in Rockville. General Tom 
Thumb, as he was called, was the smallest person of his age living. 
The carriage he rode in was very small and light. It was a four- 
wheeled one. There was a seat on the outside in front for the 
driver and a seat on the back end for the footman, while "Tom" 
rode inside, sitting up like a major general. The carriage was 
drawn by a pair of small Shetland ponies. The driver and foot- 
man were two small wide awake boys who traveled with the 
show. The whole rig was stylish all the way through. 

"In the hall, while he was on the stage, Tom wore a major 
general's military suit, with sword and all the fixings of a military 
officer of high rank. He would march back and forth on the 
stage and put on airs. I passed around the show bills the time 
Barnum came to Rockville with Tom Thumb. He gave me a 
York shilling* — a 12^2 cent piece — and a ticket for the show." 

i: This coin was a Spanish silver coin, the real. Eight of these made a 
Spanish dollar, just as ten of our silver dimes make our dollar. They 
were known as "pieces of eight" and were valued at 12% cents. 



Known to a very limited number of the present generation 
is the fact that one of the greatest acts featured in both vaudeville 
and the circus originated in Rockville in the early eighties. Rock- 
ville boasted of one Bert Ransom, who first introduced the act 
of spinning a series of tambourines, and while Ransom did not 
commercialize on the act, which he introduced to the local public, 
he was instrumental in interesting other Rockville young men, 
including the Frieze Brothers (Billy and Larry), who improved 
the act. 

The first time the act of spinning over four tambourines at 
one time was given in Rockville was at Henry Theater, April 
28, 1891, by Billy Frieze with Vreeland's minstrels. He asserts 
he had the act copyrighted, No. 25,949, to protect his rights. 
Billy and Larry Frieze of Rockville (brothers) made their first 
appearance at Newton's Varieties in Hartford, when only 4 and 5 
years of age. For many years they were with Barnum & Bailey's 
Circus. Their home was on East Main Street in Minterburn Court. 

Other local boys who learned the celebrated act and prac- 
ticed it with success for several years were Tambourine McCarthy, 
Bill Wienefeld, Doc Woodard, and Dan Curtis, of Vernon. Tam- 
bourine McCarthy, to excel other artists who performed with 12 
tambourines at one time, perfected an apparatus whereby he could 
spin 14 tambourines. 

But the greatest of them all were the brothers August and 
Walter Kleindienst. They were born in Rockville and lived on 
Minterburn Hill, and were two famous clowns, whose act was 
adapted for stage, cabaret, circus and galas. They became known 
throughout the world as Tambo and Tambo. They have per- 
formed in 39 countries, and have never had, or been in, an acci- 
dent of any kind, never missed a train, never been ill, never lost 
an engagement and never lost any of their baggage. They have 
never been to California, but nearly everywhere else, including Rus- 
sia, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Finland, Holland, Bel- 
gium, Luxemburg, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Austria, Czecho- 
slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Turkey, South Africa, Aus- 
tralia, New Zealand, India, Canada, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Argentina, 
Uruguay, Egypt, Channel Islands, Rumania, Bulgaria, Hungary, 
England, Scotland, Irish Free State and Wales; 



In the year 1895 among the many attractions at the Snipsic 
Grove, none was more popular than the exhibition bout of John 
L. Sullivan and Paddy Ryan. Thousands of people witnessed it. 
The boxers arrived at noon from Boston, and were escorted to 
a hack by George Fitton to the Snipsic lower landing, where they 
took a steamer for the grove. A 16-foot ring had been erected 
just in front of the restaurant. Both Sullivan and Ryan were 
greeted with enthusiasm. 

The boxing contest, however, was a disappointment to the 
vast crowd. They sparred only three rounds and after the exhibi- 
tion Sullivan, luxuriantly lazy, went at once to his room and lay 
down. E. W. Foote, the well-known Springfield Republican cor- 
respondent, interviewed Sullivan after the contest and reported 
that the boxer was so heavy even the short exhibition winded him. 

While the mighty John L. was in the city, he stayed at the 
Rockville House, and he displayed a good spirit by showering 
from his room window on the south side, handfuls of nickels and 
other coins to the vast crowd who had assembled to see him. 


Stephen J. Farrell was born at 225 East Main Street, Rock- 
ville, in the year 1864, and became coach and trainer of athletes 
at the University of Michigan in 1913, continuing until 1930. From 
1918 until his death in 1933, the period in which Michigan Uni- 
versity was a member of the Big Ten, his teams won five outdoor 
and four indoor track championships. 

Les Etter, Athletic Publicity man at the University, wrote 
this commendation on November 6, 1953: 

"During World War I, although he was well over 50 
years of age, Mr. Farrell passed the difficult air corps 
physical examination and was commissioned a first lieu- 
tenant. Up to a short time preceding his death, he kept 
in top physical condition and it was his boast that even 
at that age he could run faster backwards than most men 
could forward, and he was able to prove this statement. 

"His career was an interesting one. He was a pro- 
fessional foot racer in his younger days, specializing in the 
middle distance, and won the middle distance title of The 


Sheffield Handicap, England, twice. He also was at one 
time a member of a circus troop and raced against a horse 
as part of the act and he claimed that he held a .800 
average in victories." 

In 1920 Farrell entisted in the Armed Forces and was com- 
missioned as an officer, holding a position as a coach of the 
United States track personnel. Accompanied by Mrs. Farrell and 
a group of United States athletic coaches he attended the Olympic 
games at Holland and California. 

"Steve" coached two (colored) world champion hurdlers and 
sprinters — Dehart Hubbard and Eddie Tolan. 

He was very highly thought of by staff members, townspeople 
and of course, the athletes whom he coached. His widow still 
resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan, at the good age of 88. 

Stephen J. Farrell was buried in the family lot in St. Bernard's 
Cemetery, Rockville. 


A poem dedicated to the Town of Vernon, written by Thomas 
Dwight Goodell, a graduate of Rockville High School in 1873 
and Professor of Greek at Yale University 1893-1920. 

As the Greek youth brought to his nurse a gift, 
So bring I this thank-offering to our town. 


"More room!" said the folk of the river towns, 

Hartford and Windsor and Wethersfield. 

"There's good land east fair crops will yield. 
Let the Old World fight for outworn crowns, 

We've better to do, building a state 
Godly and free — and rich, maybe; 
And if stepmotherly England frowns, 
She's a long way off!" So they spread o'er the plain 
Homes and billows of ripening grain, 

And on the hilltop consecrate 
The House where God's word shall be strictly taught. 

Wheat, rye, and the red gold of Indian corn, 
Wool and flax, which the women wrought 
With distaff and spinning-wheel and loom — 

This was their wealth; and children were born, 
Many and sturdy, and still there was room. 
If dwellings were plain and winters were long, 
They woke in June to the robin's song, 

In the high elm orioles hung their nest, 
The bobolink's rapture gladden'd the morn, 

And the whippoorwills charm 'd their rest. 


So in these upland fields 

At the valley's eastern bound 
Time her slow fruitage yields. 

Priest Kellogg, servant of God and man, long crown'd 
With love and honor, in yon God's acre sleeps. 



The colonies are states, united, strong 

In hope and promise that to youth belong. 
From Snipsic still the river leaps 

Unhinder'd, pure, down the cool forest glen. 
Said men of Vernon, "Now why 
Need the hurrying waters rush idly by? 

Let them learn our Yankee rule: 'tis when 
We have done our stent we are free to play. 

Let our wild Hoclcanum do as we!" 
They yoked him to mill-wheels, made the spring flood stay 

To help in August drought. 
He ground their flour, saw'd the forest away; 
Then to finer tasks they put him to school, 
With cotton and paper, silk and wool; 

And he toil'd for all in season and out, 
Till more helpers were needed, and helpers came 
From the crowded lands of ancient fame, 

From Europe over the sea. 
And the village along the busy stream 
Throve and grew, and began to dream 

Of larger things to be. 


Ah, brethren of the Southland, 

Whose fathers, with our own, 
'Stablisht the dear Republic, 

How keen hath our quarrel grown! 
Again with childish wondering eyes 

I see the throng'd street on that July day, 

The waiting coaches, music and banners gay, 
And women weeping, while hoarse cheers arise. 
Now they are gone, first comers to the call, 
"Three hundred thousand more!" From all 
War ever takes the best. Cheerily they fare 
On toward Potomac's war-swept banks — - 
Young fathers, from the last kiss of wife and child, 
And boys too young to know love's wild 

Deep ecstacy and woe, whose foreheads wear 
The mother's chrism of farewell prayer. 
Tho' stern forced march, Antietam's field, 


And Marye's Heights, and Gettysburg await them, 
And many shall return no more, 
Or come in coffined honor, or maimed sore, 
Their high design and inborn constancy 

And valorous hope elate them. 
Now each new May let the nation's thanks 

In fragrant bloom fresh wreaths of honor plait them, 
By whose blood and agony 

Thy nation's wound was heal'd. 


Peace once more, and the fruitful arts of peace! 

There know thy strength, my country, there 

Let thy pent youthful vigor dare — 
Not in fleets nor tropic empire — seek release, 
Treading new pathways to a nation's glory, 
Which yet are old as Athens. And Vernon's story 

Shall be true type thereof and prophecy. 
Here patience, industry, inventive skill 
Win nature's power to do man's will 

To free mankind and magnify. 
And who so buildeth honest work, 

Taking no private gain 

From other's loss or pain, 
He builds for all time, tho' his deed 
Aim but to fill the daily need 
For food and shelter; and no subtle murk 
Of social theory can befog his mind 

Whose hands have earn'd a home. 
Here Irish wit and German thrift, 

Slavic passion, Italian courtesy, 
And many an Old World people's special gift, 
With plain New England common-sense combined, 
Shall shape a people sane and strong, 

Full-rounded, like St. Peter's dome, 
Based on the old, unto new heights ascending. 
Here, too, the ancient Mother Church doth find 
Her wilful daughters, tho' estranged long, 
Hands of ungruding welcome now extending, 

While the firm Hebrew faith still proves its power, 


Eldest, yet ever young, no longer forced to cower. 
Alike one Father-God they teach, 

And that man liveth not by bread alone. 
For every word divine he must out-reach 

In searching unafraid. Science and art 

Also are worship, and no lesser part 
Of our true native heaven-descended speech. 
And our democracy means equal right 
For all to climb the spirit's mountain height. 
Here therefore shall stand open wide 

All paths to ampler life — the treasured lore 
Of ages, and the swelling tide 

Of incorruptible treasures new from every shore. 
The hand shall here learn delicate power, the voice 

Grow musical, and homes be beautified 
With gardens, modest or stately, that all eyes rejoice. 
And for that sweet forest glen, 

Long lost 'neath streets and factories, 
Art shall discern a way to compensate — 
With shapely bridge and planted bank and park again 

Make beautiful, with tamer harmonies, 
But noble still, what now is desolate — 
In civic grace the lovely valley recreate. 


Thou little commonwealth, our home, our pride, 

A fairer down draws nigh. 

The ancient Dark is fading; a light breeze 

Wafts dewy odors, and the trees 

Their leafy answer softly make. 

Pellucid gold drifts up the morning sky, 
Song-sparrow and bluebird are awake, 

Soon the full chorus will begin, 
Bathing the world in music, telling of love, 

Then day shall enter in, 
With light, with beauty, add with joy, whereof 
The humblest with the highest shall partake. 



Title Page 

The Rockville House 451 

The Post Office of Rockville 456 

The Rockville City Hospital 460 

The Rockville Public Health Nursing Association 463 

The American Red Cross, Rockville Chapter 466 

Tolland County Medical Association 469 

Tolland County Jail 474 

Tolland County Home for Children 475 

Tolland County Agricultural Society 477 

Tolland County Art Association 478 

Cemeteries in the Town of Vernon 479 

Central Park 485 

The Guardian of the Fountain 488 

Cogswell Polytechnic College 490 

Talcott Park 491 

The Banks 492 

Hartford-Connecticut Trust Company 492 

The Rockville National Bank 492 

First National Bank 493 

The Savings Bank of Rockville 495 

The People's Savings Bank 496 

The Rockville Building and Loan Association 500 

The Telephone 501 

Rockville Gas and Electric Company 504 



Title Page 

Convalescent Homes 505 

Newspapers in Tolland County 506 

Clerks of Court for Tolland County 509 

Rockville City Judges 509 

Rockville Police Department 509 

List of Town Officials from 1808 510 

Acknowledgments 518 

Tomorrow 519 

Bibliography 522 


Title Page 

First Public House in Rockville 451 

The Rockville House 453 

Rockville Post Office 455 

Old City Hospital 459 

New City Hospital 461 

Tolland County Jail 473 

Tolland County Home for Children 476 

County Home School 477 

Central Park and Town Hall 484 

Cogswell Fountain 487 

Talcott Park 491 

Hartford-Connecticut Trust Co 493 

Savings Bank of Rockville 494 

People's Savings Bank 497 

Tolland County Leader 507 



The original Rockville House was built by William T. Cogs- 
well, builder and contractor, in the year 1843, on the site of the 
present hotel. Asaph McKinney, of Ellington, a genial man who 
for a time had had charge of the stage coach between Springfield 
and Norwich, moved in as landlord before the house was actually 
finished, and stayed for three and a half years, paying a yearly 
rental of $200. A dignified dedication took place in the month of 
January, 1844. The proprietors were Hubbard Kellogg and Sam- 
uel Rose, the keeper of the first village post office. 


On October 5, 1847, McKinney was succeeded by Francis 
Keeney, who paid the same amount of rent. In the spring of 1848 
he beautified the surroundings by setting out a row of elm trees 
south of the house, since known as The Terrace. He also helped 
grade Central and Talcott parks. The terrace was not then walled 
up, and the land belonging to the hotel reached as far as Cottage 
and School streets. The old elm in front of the hotel, supposed to 
be 100 years old, was taken down in 1920. 



The prices in Keeney's time were 25 cents for a night's lodging 
and 25 cents for each meal. Is it any wonder that the House was 
uncomfortably crowded with guests? We learn that as many as 
eight men, strangers to each other, were sometimes compelled to 
occupy the four beds in one room on the second floor. Remember 
that was the dav of the stage coaches to Woodstock, Stafford, 
Springfield, Broad Brook and Hartford! 

The building was moved a few rods north, rented for a few 
years, then bought bv Benezet H. Bill, Esq., and occupied as his 
residence and office. In the basement of this house the popular 
fire engine called "The Fire King" was kept. 

In 1851 it was decided to build a new and commodious hotel 
on the site of the old one. which was moved to Ellington and be- 
came known as Ellington Inn. To carry out the larger plans a 
new company was formed consisting of Phineas Talcott, Allen Ham- 
mond. Nelson Kingsbury. Alonzo Bailev, Aaron Kellogg, Allen 
Kellogg and Major Nathaniel E. Kellogg. Elisha Pember, who 
lived where the Eckhardt home now stands on West Road, and had 
had some experience as a hotel keeper in Ellington, was engaged 
for the Rockville House, but in the year 1858 George Kellogg 
bought the property and sold it to Francis Keenev for $6,095. 

There was a clause in the deed of the property which stated 
that in case of the keeping to sell or manufacture alcoholic or malt 
liquors, the property would be forfeited to the Rock Manufacturing 
Company, which at that time, with George Kellogg at the head, 
was the controlling power in the village. Each landlord insisted 
that a public house could not be profitably sustained without an 
open bar. 

Francis Keenev kept the hotel for seventeen years. He was 
peculiarly fitted bv nature for the position — cordial and accom- 
modating. He had a keen sense of humor and a wonderful mem- 
ory. In conjunction with the hotel he carried on a farm in Elling- 
ton. The hotel became known as the Keenev House, and the host 
and hostess were affectionately called Father Keenev and Mother 

Town meetings were held in the Conference Room of the 
Vernon Congregational Church until 1856. but the voting privi- 
leges were transferred to Rockville in 1865. and the polling place 
was the Rockville House. The large dining room became the 
Town Hall, and plaved a prominent part in the history of the 
town. It has been remarked that not too much emphasis was 




placed on the secrecy of the ballot in that period. The hall was 
used by several religious organizations for church services in times 
of emergency, and for many social activities. A large livery stable 
in the rear provided public transportation services, and when the 
men left for the Front during the war of the Rebellion, the Rock- 
ville House was their headquarters. 

The House became very popular, especially during the 60's. 
The goods made by the mills were sold through commission mer- 
chants in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Boston, and they 
came twice a year to decide upon the styles of manufacture, often 
bringing their families with them. Many men and women of na- 
tional fame also came to the Keeney House: Frederick Douglas, 
Wendell Phillips, Mrs. Livermore, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. 
And certainly the dinners were toothsome. "The Daily Times" of 
Hartford, on Thursday, October 19, 1876, chuckled over a feast 
enjoyed there: "The dinner at the Rockville House consisted of 
roast turkey, roast pig, cold ham, mutton, and a great variety of 
other attractive edibles, garnished with sweet potatoes, pies, cran- 
berry sauce, hot coffee, cider, and other good things." 

In April, 1876, Francis Keeney sold the property to Colonel 
Lay and Claude Harvey, both of Stafford, who conducted it suc- 
cessfully for several years. An addition was built and the prop- 
erty remodeled. It was then sold to a syndicate consisting of 
George M. Paulk, Cyrus Winchell, Joseph C. Hammond and Cross- 
ley Fitton. The business was later sold after landlords James 
Ryan, Mr. and Mrs. Murdock McPherson and John J. Kelleher to 
Mr. and Mrs. Chapdelaine. 

In 1879 the building proved to be inadequate. Ten rooms 
were added by a Walter Andrews of Vernon, but in 1882, architect 
S. W. Lincoln of Hartford, drew up plans for a grand enlarge- 
ment, and George Arnold & Son took the contract and remodeled 
the hotel to its present appearance. 

The Journal Reporter on April 15, 1882, states: We have been 
shown plans drawn by Lincoln, the architect, for the addition to 
be built to the Rockville House this Spring or the coming Summer. 
An addition of 16 feet will be put on in front, giving a ladies' 
parlor, which has been much needed for some time. A Mansard 
roof and a tower built on one corner of the building, will give an 
imposing appearance. The addition to the building will provide 
some 20 new rooms, which increasing business demands. Piazzas 
will run around the house at each story. 



An elegant new dining room was opened to the public on 
Sunday, June 15, 1890. 

The Chapdelaines came to Rockville in L918, operated the 

hotel successfully until January 1, 1935, when they leased it to Mr. 
and Mrs. Anderson, of New York, for a period of one year. On 
January 1, 1936, Mrs. Ellen Cosgrove Chapdelaine again assumed 
the business for one year, then Charles Kokerda, of New Bedford, 
Massachusetts, leased the property from Mrs. Chapdelaine for a 
period of five years. Then three cousins of Mrs. Chapdelaine — 
Bridie Gorman Finley, Delia Martin Steppe and Mary Ellen Plant 
leased the property from the estate of Mrs. Chapdelaine ( deceased > 
for a period of five years. Subsequently, in October. 1948, the 
property consisting of land, building, furniture and fixtures was 
sold to Robert Rivkin, of Hartford, Connecticut, for the sum of 

Thus for one hundred and eleven years the Rockville House 
has served the changing public. 




Mail service was meager for a number of years, one mail only 
coming to Rockville and one going out each day. It was carried 
to Vernon Depot on the 9:30 a.m. stage, and brought to Rockville 
on the 3:30 p.m. stage. All the Rockville, Vernon Center, Tol- 
land, and Ellington mail did not fill that mail bag. The stage 
driver paused at the Vernon Center post office while the mail was 

There was no post office in Rockville until 1842. It was not 
easy to get an office established in a new place. A few local 
objectors informed Washington authorities there was no need of 
an office in a village where they had mail only once every day. 
Others there were who claimed an office would be an unnecessary 
government expense, but a petition and a bond attached with the 
names of local men of good credit promising to pay Washington 
any loss incurred for having the office, succeeded, and on the 25th 
of May, 1842, the post office was established, and the first post- 
master, Samuel P. Rose, appointed by the Postmaster General. 
George Talcott acted as clerk. The post office was kept in the 
store of Messrs. Rose and McLean, near the Memorial Building. 
It was the only store in Rockville at that time. 

In 1845 James Stewart became postmaster. He was a tailor, 
and kept the post office in his shop on the corner of West Main 
Street and New England Avenue. He cultivated his memory, and 
with a shrewd twinkle he promptly answered "yes" or "no" to any- 
one inquiring for a letter. He had the addresses of all letters in 
the post office locked in the secret vault of his memory. 

Charles W McLean was appointed May 4, 1849, and Edward 
P. Allen June 3, 1853. William T. Cogswell kept the office from 
July, 1857, to April, 1861, in his drug store; Andrew W. Tracy as- 
sumed the responsibility on April 22, 1861, in what is now Rock- 
ville Hotel barn, and was followed by Harlan C. Parker on Feb- 
ruary 20, 1865, who was reappointed on March 11, 1865, when the 
office became "presidential." For a long time the office was 
located in Prescott Block and the Citizens' Block. 

George N. Brio;ham was appointed postmaster July 23, 1866, 
and remained in office for a period of twenty years. As a soldier, 
government official, and private citizen he was highly esteemed. 
When he retired from his duties in 1886 the citizens gave him a 



Business grew with the population. A local paper dated Fri- 
day, May 17, 1872, stated — "Our enterprising postmaster Brigham 
has added 200 delivery boxes to the Rockville Post Office. The 
total is now 712. Business done — about 1000 weekly newspapers 
are distributed, and the number of letters received daily is about 
750, and the number sent off is 725." 

Wilbur B. Foster received the appointment in July, 1836, and 
George W. Randall succeeded him in July, 1890. 

A new post office was opened to the public for the first time 
on Tuesday, 1st of July, 1899. It stood at the west corner of the 
new Citizen's Block and measured 17y 2 feet x 40 feet. The office 
was fitted up handsomely, costing Messrs. Prescott and Keeney 
about $600. 

In December of 1895, F. A. O'Brien, of Worcester, Massachu- 
setts, Post Office Inspector, visited Rockville, and recommended 
to the government free delivery system. Business for that year 
amounted to $10,521.35, $521.35 above the amount required for 
free delivery system. 

So Free Postal Delivery went into effect on April 1, 1896. The 
three letter carriers, George E. Dickinson, James Kehoe and Charles 
H. Laubscher, chosen from fifty-one applicants taking examination, 
started out from the office at 8:20 a.m. to cover their routes. Thev 
were the center of attraction wearing their bright new uniforms, 
though they were a little disappointed, for their grey caps had not 
arrived that day and they had to wear black ones. The number- 
ing of houses was speedily accomplished by Lewis M. Jones, under 
the direction of the Superintendent of Public Works, at the expense 
of property owners and without cost to the city. 

The Postal Savings Bank opened on July 31, 1911, offering two 
per cent interest on deposits, with the big security of the United 
States for repayment. 

In 1913 the Parcel Post was established with great success. 
The incoming parcels delivered during the first week were 290, 
the outgoing parcels totaled 235. Mrs. Paul Seigfried had the 
honor of mailing the first package here on the dav of its inaugu- 
ration throughout the country. 

There were two deliveries of mail a day, one in the morning 
and the other in the afternoon. The following regulations were 
the order of the day: "A carrier is allowed only a half minute at 
each door. If no one appears in answer to a ring at the door bell, 
the carrier must go on to the next house, and all such letters not 


delivered will be returned to the office, to be taken out on the 
next trip. A carrier is not allowed to make change for parties de- 
siring letters to be mailed, and must not sell stamps, although he 
will take all letters that bear stamps and are therefore ready for 

The movement looking to a Federal Building for Rockville 
originated in the Rockville Business Men's organization. A resolu- 
tion calling upon Congressman E. Stevens Henry to use his influ- 
ence brought results. Appropriations for the project were secured, 
the first one in 1911 to cover the cost of the site selected, $19,699. 
It was Jacob Yost's property at the corner of Park and School 

The land was owned originally by the Rock Manufacturing 
Company, the pioneer wool mill, and sold to Rev. Ansel Nash, min- 
ister of the First Congregational Church, who built the house which 
afterward adorned the site. He sold the house to "Uncle" George 
Kellogg, Ralph Talcott, Phineas Talcott, an early trial justice of 
the Town, and Halsey Fuller, who afterwards sold it to the Rock 
Company. The Company used it for some time as a boarding 
house. Dr. Elmer L. Styles bought the property from the Rock 
Company in 1881 and sold it to Jacob Yost in 1884. 

The contract for the building was awarded to the Westchester 
Engineering Company, of White Plains, New York, and the con- 
struction took a year. It is a model building in every respect, and 
cost $52,000. 

The building has a frontage of 54 feet on Park and extends 
back 78 feet on School Street. It is constructed of Indiana lime- 
stone and tapestry brick, with a stone water table and cornice. 
There are granite steps leading up to the building, and limestone 
posts. On each buttress is a lamp standard where lamps will be 
placed. Shrubbery adds to the beauty and effectiveness of the 
building. On entering, one first goes through a loggia, which 
leads to a large vestibule, and this in turn leads to a spacious 
public lobby. 

The cornerstone was laid in the afternoon of Saturday, Julv 
14, 1917, with an impressive exercise by the Most Worshipful Grand 
Lodge of Masons, Connecticut. The full Masonic ceremony for 
such occasions was exemplified, and 175 Masonic members were 
in line. 

Postmaster George Forster and the official family moved into 
the new post office on Friday, May 31, 1918. 



Geor<ie Forster remained as Postmaster until J 924, when 
George Dickinson was appointed to that office. Mr. Dickinson 
served until 1932, when George Forster was re-appointed by Pres- 
ident Roosevelt. In this, his second term, he served until 1941 when 
Saul Peizer became postmaster. Edward J. Connors, the present 
postmaster who has graciously supplied us with information, re- 
ceived his appointment in 1947. 

Postal receipts for the year ending December 31, 1952, were 
$87,588.00. Office complement consists of Postmaster, Assistant 
Postmaster, Superintendent of Mails, six clerks, nine carriers, regu- 
lars and substitutes, four rural carriers and two custodial employees. 
Rural carriers travel a total of 165.5 miles each day and deliver 
matter to the following towns: Vernon, Ellington, Somers, South 
Windsor, Stafford, Coventry and Bolton. 

On July 1, 1952, the post office authorized a government ve- 
hicle for the delivery and use of the Rockville Post Office. The 
Rockville office serves approximately 23,000 individuals. 

On October 1, 1953, the department authorized a mounted 
city delivery route, giving residents now on rural routes nearest 
Rockville a modified city delivery service by vehicle. 



To William Henry Prescott belongs the honor of starting the 
enterprise by which the establishment of a City Hospital was as- 
sured. The tender thought was prompted by his own illness in 
the latter part of 1907 and the early part of 1908. On January 20, 
1908, Mr. Prescott turned over to a few trustees the sum of $50,000, 
to be known as the William Henry Prescott Fund, and to serve as 
a nucleus for the amount necessary for such a worthy institution. 

Mr. Prescott's family were also much interested in this pro- 
posal, and arranged for the purchase of the Gaynor place on Pros- 
pect Street, which they deeded to the trustees. This deed consti- 
tuted a gift from Mrs. Prescott, her son, Francis Keeney Prescott 
and her daughter, Mrs. Eliza Prescott Childs, Holyoke, Massachu- 
setts. Hon. E. Stevens Henry and Robert Maxwell also endowed 
the hospital generously, and a wooded tract adjoining the hospital 
on the north, known as the Rock lot, was given by Frederick Swin- 
dells. The appointed trustees were Francis T. Maxwell, Arthur T. 
Bissell, Miss J. Alice Maxwell, A. N. Belding and Thomas W. Sykes. 

Another site was generously offered by ex-congressman E. 
Stevens Henry, a ten-acre plot on the Vernon Avenue end of High 
Street, but the question whether to wait for the building of a per- 
manent hospital or to proceed immediately resulted in the choice 
of the Gaynor place. It was decided to renovate the Prescott 
house, which then was eighty years old, and use it as a temporary 

A popular campaign for funds to augment the noble gift of the 
Prescotts was launched on Washington's Birthday, February 22, 
1920, under the enthusiastic leadership of Rev. Percy E. Thomas, 
then pastor of Union Congregational Church, and the splendid ef- 
fort raised the magnificent sum of $51,182.54. 

The hospital was opened on Monday, October 31, 1921. For 
twenty-four years it rendered splendid service, but its equipment 
became inadequate in a growing population, and in the year 1945 
the magnificent Maxwell property on Union Street "Kellogg Lawn," 
home of William and Miss J. Alice Maxwell, scarcely 100 feet from 
the busy city street, was converted into a hospital. 

The Rockville City Hospital opened its doors for public in- 
spection from 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday, October 29, 1945, to give an op- 
portunity to all to see what a beautiful and efficiently equipped 




hospital the City now has. The hospital, with Mrs. Emma B. 
Smith as Superintendent, opened for patients on Monday the 30th. 
Here is the latest in equipment and the surroundings are wonder- 

The task of converting the former Maxwell mansion into a 
hospital under war-time restrictions and shortages was difficult. 
The trustees in charge of the work were George Arnold, Chairman 
of the Board; Lebbeus F. Bissell, Frederick N. Belding, Francis E. 
Hardenbergh, Donald C. Fisk, and Claude A. Mills. 

A total of 2,210 people signed the register that day at the of- 
fice entering at Union Street. The office is at the left, with the 
elevator at the right. A portrait of William H. Prescott hangs in 
this room. 

Turning to the left one finds several rooms on the corridor 
which ends at the east end of the building in the sun room. Chairs, 
beautiful and comfortable, attract attention. This entire room was 
furnished by the generosity of the American Dyeing Corporation. 

Opposite the entrance hall is the staff room and next to it the 
very beautiful office of the Superintendent. At the west end is 
the X-ray room, the laboratory and the emergency room, next to 



the ambulance entrance. On the other side of the corridor are 
the kitchen, nurses' dining room and employees' dining room. 
On the marble staircase leading to the second floor are two 
plaques, which formerly stood on the walls of the original Hospital 
on Prospect Street, now the Bamforth Apartments: 







On the second floor are several single rooms, as well as rooms 
with more than one bed. On the north side is the large operating 
room, with an auxiliary system of lighting overhead in emergency. 
There is also a smaller operating room for minor operations. 

The third floor contains a model nursery, maternity rooms and 
delivery rooms. 

In all the hospital there are 65 beds with from one to five beds 
in a room. No room has more than five beds. The Hospital 
Auxiliary's rooms are in the garage — attractive and designed for 
accomplishing real work. There is linoleum on the floors, and the 
furniture is maple. Here the women make dressings for the hos- 
pital and do other valuable work. 

The grounds have several terraces, a swimming pool, and a 
rock garden. The community is exceedingly fortunate to have such 
a hospital. 


The Rockville City Hospital Auxiliary celebrated its tenth 
anniversary by presenting the institution with a croup tent. 

Mrs. Margaret Mantak, president of the auxiliary, informs us 
that the group has bought wheel chairs, purchased oxygen tents, 
had the men's surgical ward and the first floor redecorated. It 
has purchased auxiliary lights, one of them being for the emer- 
gency room. Christmas gifts included surgical sponges, rubber 
sheets, double wraps for sterilizing, etc. 

The auxiliary now has 168 members. The major project of the 
past year was to have the children's ward completely renovated 


and redecorated. The carnage house was redecorated, and a sew- 
ing machine and refrigerator were purchased. These projects were 
financed with funds received from the Cinderella Quiz program 
and food sale. 

The auxiliary contributed to the Rockville Public Health 
Nursing Association, American Red Cross, Heart Fund and Polio 
Drives. The social committee purchased flowers and gifts to carry 
cheer to all patients. There are 62 charter members. 

During its ten years of existence, the Auxiliary has raised and 
spent over $11,000 for the benefit of the hospital. Mrs. Luther 
White served as president for four years and as general chairman 
of work for eight years. Mrs. Paul Lehmann was president for 
four years, and she in turn was succeeded by Mrs. Margaret Man- 
tak, now president. 

The Auxiliary is affiliated with the Connecticut Association 
of Hospital auxiliaries. 


The Cornelia Circle organized in 1896 at the home of Mrs. 
W. H. Sill, on Davis Avenue, to be helpful to mothers, exemplified 
the best virtues of the ancient Roman Matron when driven by a 
crusader's zeal they enthusiastically began to carry forward the 
idea of a visiting nurse association. There was no hospital in the 
town or city, so cases of extreme emergencies had to be cared for 
at Hartford hospitals. At that time, there were fewer than 200 
visiting nurse associations in the country. 

The Circle voted to hold a mass meeting to interest as many of 
the citizens as possibe in forming a Visiting Nurse Association. 
Press notices and church announcements urged people to a meet- 
ing to be held in the Superior Court Room, Memorial Building, on 
Thursday, January 23, 1913. Miss Martha Wilkinson, superinten- 
dent of the Nursing Association in Hartford, spoke. The large and 
enthusiastic meeting promptly effected an organization. Papers 
circulated solicited $1.00 memberships and $179 was subscribed. 
On the motion of Attorney Dennis J. McCarthy, a vote was taken 
to get the sentiment, and the new organization was chartered. Mr. 
Charles Phelps, who always had a good way with words, presided, 
and the following officers were appointed: President, Charles 
Phelps; Vice-Presidents, Francis J. Regan, Mrs. F. T. Maxwell, 
George Arnold, Jr.; Secretary, Mrs. D. J. McCarthy; Treasurer, 
Morris Kemnitzer. 


There was a prompt and generous response of the people and 
over $1300 was raised. The executive committee of the Associa- 
tion engaged a nurse, Miss Jennie Allan Smith, of Dartmouth, 
Massachusetts, who began work immediately. Her report for the 
first month showed 68 professional calls and 120 social calls. She 
filled the position with intelligence and efficiency. 

The organization decided upon fees of five cents to fifty cents 
per visit, depending upon the ability of the patient to pay. This, 
of course, did not cover expenses. To raise funds, subscriptions 
of one dollar or more were solicited. All contributors became as- 
sociate members of the organization. The total collected in the 
first two months was $1,463.40. 

The first room for the visiting nurse office was in an Elm 
Street building, now occupied by Dr. John E. Flaherty. The nurse 
at first wore no special uniform. People knew her by the nurse's 
bag, but even at the end of the first year Miss Smith was well es- 
tablished and extremely busy. She reported a total of 2,494 calls. 

The growing desire for the services of the visiting nurse 
brought with it the appeal for some kind of transportation. Dur- 
ing the fall of 1914, 796 visits were made, and even though the 
visits were grouped according to districts, the nurse must have 
covered about 50 miles a week on foot. 

Finally something was done about the situation after Miss 
McCarthy was called out late on a winter day. To reach the case 
she had to walk from the tracks on West Street to Vernon Center 
and back in the chilling cold. The Association then decided to 
hire a horse and buggy which was at the nurse's disposal every 

By the end of the second year, the Rockville Visiting Nurse 
Association was a well-known community group. The financial 
situation improved. Stray gifts helped and an emergency fund 
was started. 

The nurse was occupied with welfare work in addition to her 
regular duties. Illness and poverty went hand in hand. The 
Thimble Club under the direction of Mrs. F. T. Maxwell formed 
a group to furnish a nurse's supply closet, and churches and other 
organizations helped. 

The purpose of the Rockville Public Health Nursing Associa- 
tion is to care for the sick in their homes, to prevent illness through 
immunizations and health teaching and to bring health care to 
individuals, to families and to the community. 


Although bedside care still remains one of the very important 
aspects of Organization program, more and more of the nurses' 
time is spent in health education. As a result of constant teach- 
ing, more mothers recognize the need for medical supervision of 
infants and pre-school children and more and more parents are 
taking their children to family physicians or pediatricians. The 
Medical Well-Child Conferences are therefore no longer an essen- 
tial part of the Public Health Nursing program and were discon- 
tinued in 1947. So also were the Pre-School Round-Ups. Chil- 
dren are now being examined by their own doctors before entering 
school. This is a much more meaningful and satisfactory arrange- 


ment. Immunization clinics continue. Even there, changes in 
procedure have been noted. Schick tests have been discontinued 
and replaced by the "booster" injection against diphtheria, whoop- 
ing-cough and tetanus. Pertussis or whooping-cough toxoid was 
added to the combination given at the clinics in 1947. Dental 
Hygiene Clinics were offered in 1944 and 1945 for pre-school chil- 
dren twice a year for cleaning teeth. It was not until 1948 and 
1949 that concerted effort on the part of manv who formed a Dental 
Health Committee secured a demonstration by the United States 
Public Health Service, to apply Sodium Fluoride to the teeth of 
school children. As a result of this demonstration, a dental hv- 
gienist was employed to work full time in the Town of Vernon 
schools in 1950 and a dental program was set up in the first three 
grades of the Ellington schools. A poster contest in the Town of 
Vernon schools in 1951 stimulated the interest of children in dental 

The Rockville Public Health Nursing Association also carries 
on a tuberculosis program. Case finding for tuberculosis con- 
tinues although the methods vary a little over the years. From 
1943 through 1945 the High School juniors were given the tuber- 
culin test and those having positive readings were followed with 
X rays. From 1948 on, X-ray pictures have been taken of all mem- 
bers of the Junior Class, plus faculty, cafeteria workers and main- 
tenance men. The Mobile X-ray Unit first took X rays of some 
industrial workers but it was not until 1947 and again in 1951 that 
the unit was available to the whole community for X ravs of the 
adult population. Positive findings proved to be very small. 

Crippled Children since 1945 have been able to receive phvs- 
ical therapy locally. A clinic was established at the Rockville Citv 
Hospital which is staffed by the State Department of Health clinic 
and is held once a week. 


The Rockville Public Health nurses taught Red Cross Home 
Nursing and First Aid courses to members of the community in 
1951. In 1952 they joined their efforts along with the medical 
profession in case finding for diabetes during Diabetes Detection 
Week. This was repeated in 1953. 

The forerunner of the Babv-Sitter Course was given in 1944 
to the Vernon 4-H Club under the name of "Child Care." It was 
not until 1952 that a course was outlined and presented for Babv 
Sitters. This was repeated in 1953. 

A scholarship fund was established in 1950 and is given yearly 
to a girl who wishes to enter a training school for nurses. 

It was in 1947 that a fourth nurse was added to the staff of 
the Rockville Public Health Nursing Association. In 1948 full 
time service was offered to Ellington. Although there have been 
many changes in staff since then, the present number is still four: 
Ruth E. Hovt, Helen M. Regan, Mary P. Dussinger, Marie Girelli, 
Ruth Casello. Office Secretary. 


The Rockville Chapter of the American Red Cross was or- 
ganized in October, 1916, with 425 members. Headquarters were 
established in a vacant store in the Orcutt Block, the use of which 
was kindlv given bv Mrs. W. H. Orcutt. The making of surgical 
dressings was started at the home of Miss J. Alice Maxwell. Prep- 
arations were begun at once for the war fund campaign of June 
18th and 25th with Mr. L. H. Talcott as chairman of the drive. The 
Rockville Chapter was allotted a quota of $15,000. The amount 
raised was $26,711. 

The following branches and auxiliaries were soon formed, 
giving the chapter jurisdiction over the northern towns in Tolland 
County', with a population of 21,000 people. 

Somersville auxiliary organized July 19, 1917 

Tolland auxiliary " July 21, 1917 

Ellington auxiliary " July 27, 1917 

So. Coventry branch " Aug. 13, 1917 

Talcottville-Vernon auxiliary " Sept. 14, 1917 

Coventry auxiliary " Sept. 14, 1917 

Somers auxiliary " Sept. 14, 1917 

The membership of the chapter increased rapidly, most of the 
names being secured during the War Fund Campaign in June, 
1917, and the two Christmas Roll Calls of December, 1917 and 1918. 


In September, 1917, there was an opportunity to rent the store 
occupied by the chapter during the summer, and Mrs. Win. H. 
Prescott kindly offered rooms in the Prescott Block which were 
gladly accepted. Knitted articles were still kept in the Orcutt 
Block and shipped from there, but from this time the making of 
surgical dressings, the cutting of garments, the receiving and giving 
out of material, and all other packing and shipping was done in 
and from the Prescott Block. 

In December, 1917, more money was needed to carry on the 
work of the chapter and an envelope collection was conducted 
under the chairmanship of Mrs. Thomas W. Sykes, which, together 
with the amount raised during the Roll Call in the same month, 
carried the work along till the following June, when the second 
War Fund drive was conducted, Rev. Edward T. Mathison being 
chairman. This time the Rockville Chapter more than doubled 
its quota of $20,000, raising $41,471. The Red Cross thoughtfully 
named Mrs. Thomas Sykes honorary chairman. She had been 
an officer of the chapter from its beginning. 

In March, 1918, the work had increased to such an extent 
that more room was badly needed and Prescott Hall was taken 
over for the making of surgical dressings. During the summer of 
1918 dressings were also made in the vestrv of the Episcopal 

After the signing of the Armistice in November. 1918, the work 
on the surgical dressings was stopped and then headquarters were 
changed to the room on the first floor formerly occupied bv the 
Post Office. Here a work-room was established for the making of 
refugee garments and from that time to Februarv 1, 1919, a great 
deal of sewing was done. 

During the summer of 1917 the chapter with its two branches 
and six auxiliaries provided 1,169 knitted articles, most of which 
were for Tolland County boys in different camps of the country, 
1,239 pieces of hospital garments, 595 surgical dressings prepared, 
131 comfort bags or kits. 

In the Annual Report on Membership in 1919 the total reached 
was 6,529. 

Not as active as during the war, good work was earned on 
through the Home Service department, a class of Home Nursing 
was opened to the public. In 1923 the sum of $2,000 was sent bv 
the Rockville Chapter for the Red Cross Japanese Relief; in 1924 
the Senior Class of the High School conducted the Membership 


Drive, and gave $100 for milk for school children; in 1926, $165 
was sent for relief in Florida at the time of hurricane; in 1927 
$335.72 for Mississippi Flood Relief, and each year $100 was con- 
tributed to the milk fund for school children; in 1931 the Chapter 
cared through the treasury for school children whose eyes, teeth 
and tonsils needed attention; in 1934 it was reported that 2,638 
bottles of milk had been given to the school children during the 
year; $200 was also donated to cover the cost of X ray for children; 
in 1936 $3,272 was realized for the flood victims, and the milk 
fund for children was increased for several years to $300. 

In 1938 work was done in connection with the local hurri- 
cane — the Red Cross furnished coffee and sandwiches to the men 
working at the Snipsic Dam during the period; in 1940 the War 
Relief Drive yielded $2400. 

In 1941 necessary arrangements were made for an emergency 
station, and the purchase of the supplies and equipment for the 
establishment of a twenty-four-bed emergency hospital. In 1942 
the Junior Red Cross was organized. Junior Red Cross included 
production, consisting of afghans, lap boards, scrap books, etc.; 
participation in Home Nursing Courses; collection of paper, old 
clothing, milkweed; victory gardens and farm work. 

Mrs. Mildred Connors was the executive secretary from 1943 
to 1948 preceded by Truth Paisley. 

In three years members of the chapter have put in 2,453 1 /2 
hours and have made 72,120 dressings. During 1943-1945, the 
chapter has made and filled 2,384 kit bags for the armed forces 
and 100 unfilled bags for the Medical Department. 

Rockville's quota for the 1945 War Fund was $25,500. The 
amount reached on September 30 was $30,363.20. At this time 
surgical dressings, blood bank and nurse recruitment were dis- 
continued by national order. The final visit of the Blood Donor 
Service was made February 28, 1945. Men and women from 
Rockville and vicinity have donated nearly 2000 pints of blood. 

Mrs. Raymond Spurring succeeded Mrs. Connors, as executive 
secretary in 1948. 

The Water Safety Program was started in 1948 and in 1953 
there were enrolled 977 children. 

The Red Cross is built on the basic idea of People Helping 


The story of the development of medicine, sometimes called 
"the mother of the sciences," in Tolland County has never been 
written. More than a century and a half ago doctors were obliged 
to make journeys over the rough and rugged hills of our county, 
and an acknowledgment of those medical excursions should be 
preserved. With horse and saddlebags, they rode from patient to 
patient, carrying along with them genial wisdom and portable drug 
stores. Few prescriptions were written in those days. Drug stores 
were few and far between, and most of the drugs, such as were 
absolutely necessary, were kept in the family stores, and made 
palatable for easy consumption. 

Some have heard of the old doctor's sulky with wheels as 
high as a man's head, the old straps in lieu of springs, and a big 
box strapped on behind the seat. Sometimes there was a top to it. 
Later came the four-wheeled carriage with the seat and body just 
sufficient for one person. Those vehicles were distinguishable at 
a long distance, and it was not uncommon for someone of the fam- 
ily of a sick person to be stationed at the door yard gate on ap- 
proach to watch for his coming on his rounds and engage his 

In the early times it was not always the graduate of the med- 
ical college who followed the profession. Handy men at the busi- 
ness took up the work. Besides this, there was usually some moth- 
erly woman in the community whose skill in the care and treat- 
ment of diseases in their earlier stages was only second, at least, 
if indeed it did not equal that of the professional nurse of the 
present day. The garrets of the old houses were almost complete 
drugstores as regards roots and herbs, and there was no lack of 
preparation for emergencies. 

At a meeting of the physicians and surgeons of the county of 
Tolland, convened at Tolland on the 4th day of September, 1792, 
agreeable to an act of the General Assembly of the State of Con- 
necticut, incorporating a medical society in the said State, the 
following gentlemen were present and considered as members: 

Ichabod Warner, David Sutton, Miner Grant, Asa 
Hamilton, Jeremiah West, Joseph Parker, William Grosve- 
nor, Joseph Kingsbury, Daniel Avery, Ebenezer Hunt, 
Samuel Willard, Elijah F. Reed, Ruggles Carpenter, Caleb 



Merrick, Lewis Collins, Dan Arnold, Simeon Field, and 
Stephen Preston. Ichabod Warner was chosen chairman 
and Jeremiah West, clerk. 

The first meetings of the Society were held in Tolland and 
Bolton, and a great effort appears to have been made to secure 
an attendance of all the members at the meetings. In 1794 it was 
voted "that it shall be considered very dishonorable for any mem- 
ber not to attend the future meetings." Later on, members were 
often fined 50 cents and $1.00 for not attending meetings. 

They petitioned the legislature to pass a law protecting the 
medical profession from being compelled to give evidence in court, 
thereby betraying the confidence reposed in them. 

The first code of charges for professional services seems to 
have been adopted in 1828, when the price for ordinary visits was 
placed at 25 cents; night visits 50 cents, consultations $1.00, simple 
fracture of the leg or arm $3.00, extracting a tooth 17 cents. 

In 1869 the visiting fee was raised to $1.00; consultation, first 
visit $2.00, each subsequent visit $1.00; night visits, 10 p.m. to 
sunrise, $2.00. 

George Brown, whose reminiscences the author appreciates, 
chronicles his knowledge on the subject: 

"In 1840, there were no doctors in Rockville — no doc- 
tors, no cemetery. The nearest to Rockville was Dr. Alden 
Skinner, who lived at Vernon Center, a jolly, good-na- 
tured doctor. Years ago when the doctor called on his 
patient, one of the first things he said was: 'Let me see 
your tongue, please.' He would next feel of the patient's 
pulse and take note of its thumps. Then the doctor would 
say, 'I shall have to bleed you.' He would then proceed to 
take from his saddlebag a lance large enough to harpoon 
a whale, call for a bowl and someone to hold it. The bowl 
was used for holding the blood. The patient would roll 
up his sleeves and the doctor would tap a vein in the arm. 
The doctor would watch the patient and let him bleed 
until he commenced to look white about the gills and 
until the person who was holding the bowl was in a state 
bordering on collapse. Then the doctor would shut off 
the flow of blood, fix up the patient's arm, and then dose 
him with calomel, which would cause the patient to have 
a very sore mouth, so that it was impossible for him to say 
his prayers out loud." 


In 1378 Frederick Gilnack and R. H. Goodrich were admitted 
as members; in 1880 E. K. Leonard and E. P. Flint; T. F. Rock- 
well in 1883, Fred Walsh, 1885; William C. Haven, W. D. Wilson, 
both in 1885; and in 1890 E. T. Davis and W. N. Simmons; Dr. 
Lawler in 1892. In 1895, Dr. F. L. Dickinson addressed the 
meeting as the oldest living member, and T. F. O'Loughlin was 
admitted in 1897. 

Dr. L. T. Mason is supposed to have been the first homeopath 
who ever trespassed on the "old school" ground. His office was 
in the upper story of the Johnson building, where later the har- 
ness shop of Mr. Liebe was located. He also carried on the dental 
business, and his residence was the house next west of the former 
Union Church parsonage on Union Street. Mr. Mason came here 
about 1850, and remained until 1870. 

From reports of the annual meeting, held at the County Home 
in Tolland April 21, 1887, we find that the officers were: President, 
Dr. F. L. Dickinson, Rockville; clerk, Dr. W. H. Clark, Tolland; 
fellows: Dr. W. N. Clark, of Stafford; to State Society Dr. S. G. 
Risley of Rockville, Dr. C. F. Sumner of Bolton; alternates, Dr. 
F. L. Smith of Stafford Springs, Dr. F. Gilnack of Rockville, Dr. 
E. P. Flint of South Coventry; Censors, Drs. C. F. Sumner, E. P. 
Flint, F. L. Smith; reporter, Dr. S. G. Risley; delegates to Ameri- 
can Medical Association, Dr. S. G. Risley and Dr. W. N. Clark; com- 
mittee to draft constitution and by-laws for the Tolland County 
Medical Society — Drs. C. F. Sumner, C. B. Newton, E. K. Leon- 
ard and W. H. Clark. 

Dr. Alden Skinner, after whom the Sons of Veterans named 
their camp, was a highly respected Rockville physician who went 
out as first surgeon of the 25th regiment, and died of pneumonia 
at Baton Rouge. Doctor Pease was in Rockville 1871-1878. Doctor 
E. L. Styles practiced in Rockville until 1882. Doctor C. L. Beach 
came to Rockville in 1881 and remained until 1882. Doctor E. A. 
Wilson came in 1882. Doctor Carl Crisand in 1883. The regimental 
surgeon was Dr. Thomas F. Rockwell of Rockville. Major Rock- 
well represented Company C's station with ability and credit to 
the regiment in the position of surgeon. The oldest member of 
the medical profession was Dr. Frederick Gilnack, practicing phy- 
sician for 45 years in Rockville: he died at his home at 15 Elm 
Street. He was both a physician and a friend. Born in Germany, 
September 4, 1844, he came to America when he was 10 years old. 
He was noted for his quietness, unostentatious goodness, strength, 


faith, sunny disposition and sweetness. A visit from him had an 
exhilarating effect. 

The Connecticut State Medical Society is composed of one 
representative from each county. Dr. John E. Flaherty is the Tol- 
land County councilor. There is also an Inter-County Association 
and delegates from each county attend meetings. 

Officers of the Tolland County Medical Association are: 

President, Dr. Francis H. Burke 

Vice-President, Dr. Wm. Schneider 

Secretary and Treasurer, Dr. Ralph Thayer, Jr. 

Meetings are held twice a year at the Old Homestead Inn, 
Somers. The annual meeting is held on the third Tuesday of April, 
and the semi-annual meeting on the third Tuesday in October. 
All doctors in practice in Tolland County are eligible for mem- 




The jail buildings for Tolland County, built in 1894, stand at 
the corner of the road leading to Willimantic and are substantial 
in construction, convenient in arrangement, and artistic in design, 
fitted with necessary and modern equipment, sanitary conveni- 
ences and heating facilities. The style of architecture is modern 
classic. The plans were drawn and the work executed under the 
general supervision of J. H. Clough, architect. 

The first jail was erected in 1786, being constructed of logs 
and very insecure, the prisoners often escaping by burning holes 
through the walls of wood. This building being found inadequate, 
another one was built about the year 1810, and stone was substi- 
tuted for wood. This stood directly south of and near the pres- 
ent County House. 

About the year 1824, the county having gradually increased 
in population, and offenses against the law being more frequent, it 
was decided to construct a jail which would successfully resist 
any attempt at escape. The floor was made of large stones, as 
was the ceiling, and the doors and windows were protected by 
iron rods. This building was destroyed by fire in September, 1893. 

The death penalty has only once been inflicted in one hundred 
and sixty-four years. George Henry Washington, a transient per- 
son of various bloods but mostly Indian was tried at the April term 
of Court in 1824 for murdering his wife, Marjory Washington 
(colored) by beating her upon the head with an oak stick. He was 
convicted and hanged on the first Tuesday in June, 1824, in an 
open lot on the hill at the north end of the street, and buried near 
the gallows. His trial was held in the Congregational Church in 
Tolland, because the old Court House had been demolished and 
the new structure had not been completed. "Father" Cogswell 
erected the gallows and made the coffin. 

The total acreage of Tolland County Jail property is 110 
acres, 85 per cent tillable. Many improvements have been made 
within recent years. A house of eight rooms, just north of the 
jail is now occupied by the assistant deputy jailer, Darrell Stark 
and his family. The cost was $15,000. 

The average number of occupants during the past ten years 
has been 20; the number of cells for men is 32; for women 5. 



Present officers: Paul B. Sweeney, High Sheriff and Jailer; 
George Schofield, deputy jailer; Darrell Stark, assistant deputy 

The Tolland County Commissioners who direct the work are 
Francis J. Prichard, of Rockville, Chester R. Worthington, of Som- 
ers, and Hubert P. Collins, of Columbia. Mr. George L. Scho- 
field was appointed superintendent in January, 1951. 


The Tolland County Temporary Home for children "deserted, 
neglected or cruelly treated or dependent" had its beginning in an 
Andover farmhouse in 1883. Mrs. Virginia Smith and a band of 
noble women began the institution. In 1887 one thousand dollars 
was appropriated by the State to the County, and the Commis- 
sioners bought the Edwin Bill place in Vernon Center. This prop- 
erty consisted of a large house once used as a hotel, and in March 
of 1887 the children were moved from Andover to Vernon. 

In the year of 1935, Mrs. Harry Conklin Smith unveiled a 
bronze tablet in memory of her husband at the Temporary Home 
gymnasium, which was remodelled through the kindness of in- 
terested organizations and friends. 

The name of Harry Conklin Smith will always be associated 
with the institution, for he loved the children and the children 
loved him. 

Exercises were held in the School Auditorium of the Tolland 
County Home on December 12, 1935. Miss Sarah Hammond, 
teacher of music at the County Home for ten years, presented a 
fine program by the children. Dr. George Brookes, a personal 
friend of Harry Conklin Smith, gave the address. Congressman 
William L. Higgins, introduced by Mr. George Siswick, chairman 
of the Board of Management, gave the address at the unveiling 
ceremony. The inscription on the bronze tablet reads: 

In Memory of 

Whose thought was ever for the children 
This building was remodelled for them 
Through the gifts of His Friends. 

Superintendent and Mrs. Albert S. McClain served the insti- 
tution with fidelity for many years, until ill health compelled his 



Mi <* i- 



retirement. They took over the duties of the home in 1931 and 
left in 1947. Mrs. Elsie Robb had charge in June, 1954, followed 
by Mr. and Mrs. Levins, and now Mr. Walter C. Meyer. 


The Tolland County Agricultural Society dedicated "to the 
promotion and improvement of agriculture, manufactures and rural 
economy" became an important organization in the year 1853. The 
first president was Ephraim Hyde, of Stafford, and the early meet- 
ings were held at Tolland Court House. An agricultural fair was 
held on September 27 and 28, 1854, a hundred years ago, and for 
many years, the annual event attracted immense crowds of people. 

The Fair was held in Tolland only three or four vears, when 
the track built in Rockville by the Tolland County Horse Associa- 
tion was purchased by the Society. It was called Hvde Park, in 
honor of its president of ten years, Ephraim Hyde. 

The Society was reorganized in November of 1897, to be 
known as the Rockville Fair Association. Walter E. Pavne became 
president. The fiftieth fair was held in 1902. The Midway was 
a lively feature, with many new attractions — shooting devices, in- 



numerable eating tents and stands, the pingpong babies, the elec- 
tric theater, the Connecticut museum of reptiles, with the cele- 
brated Glastonbury serpent, nine feet long; the Williams Gipsy 
family of fortune-tellers in a large and finely appointed tent. 

The second day of the Fair was Cattle Day. Three hundred 
head of cattle appeared on the grounds. There were dog races, 
horse races, and exhibitions in the main hall. The third day was 
a holiday. Mills, schools and stores were closed. Thousands of 
people came by train from outside towns. The Fair, held for 
over 75 years, was discontinued after 1929. St. Bernard's Church 
Society purchased the land for $8,500 for cemetery purposes. 


The Tolland County Art Association was organized under the 
leadership of Rev. Forrest Musser and several other artists in Oc- 
tober, 1946. The Association was founded to stimulate interest 
and participation in the Fine Arts. A workshop meeting was held 
each month in the Union Congregational Church and twenty-five 
(25) charter members showed considerable interest. The Asso- 
ciation through the kindness of Miss Edith Peck, Librarian, held 
their first exhibit in November, 1946. Some fifty pictures were 
exhibited on a variety of subjects and one thousand visitors signed 
the guest book during the one week of exhibit. 

The Association has continued for the past seven years in 
sponsoring this annual exhibit and one or more exhibits in neigh- 
boring communities. In 1953 there were over eighty members 
coming from every section of Tolland County. A number of neigh- 
boring communities have now established similar Art Associations. 


During the first twenty-five years of our history, no move- 
ment for establishing a cemetery was made. However, with the 
increase of population, a number of deaths occurred, and in the 
year 1847, the present grounds were purchased from David Hale 
for $398 for seven and a half acres. 

No considerable improvement in the grounds was made, as 
no funds were appropriated, and it became apparent that improve- 
ments would have to be limited by the amount of funds derived 
from the sale of lots, which were offered at the low price of $10 
each. And even at that price, they sold slowly. A survey was 
made by the agents in charge, the main drives laid out, and a 
cheap enclosure was constructed and a few trees planted along 
the entrance avenue and the outside fence. 

There was no attempt to grade the grounds. Each purchaser 
of a lot fitted it up as best he could or left it in its native rough- 
ness. It was covered with a strong; growth of timber, mostlv chest- 
nut, unsuitable for ornamental purposes. In the meantime, pri- 
vate taste and funds did improve small portions of the grounds. 

The town at its annual meeting in 1866 appointed a com- 
mittee consisting of E. B. R. James, A. C. Crosby, and Albert Dart 
and instructed them to purchase additional grounds for cemeterv 
purposes. Accordingly, the committee purchased a lot of land 
lying next east, and adjoining the present grounds, containing about 
9% acres, at an expense of $1500, and in 1889 the town voted to 
purchase a two-acre lot of Richard Jones for $1000. The Cemetery 
now contains about forty-three acres. 

There are six cemeteries in the town of Vernon: 


Grove Hill Cemetery, attractive, well kept, with monuments 
and mausoleums built of marble and granite. 


In January of 1923, Lucina Memorial Chapel, the gift of E. 
Stevens Henry in memory of his daughter, Lucina, was opened for 



public use. Its architectural character is that of the rural churches 
in England built by the Normans after their conquest of the Eng- 
lish in the latter half of the eleventh century. 

The walls of the Chapel are built mainly from stone on land 
owned by Richard Glessman, laid very carefully, but not too reg- 
ularly. The gable copings and buttress heads are of cut lime- 
stone, rough dressed, except where door and window jambs made 
smooth work necessary. The chapel floor is of slate, irregularly 
laid. The roof is also of slate with lead flashings and gutters. 

The pews and screens, also the entrance doors are made of 
oak. The chapel is lighted and heated by electricity, the heating 
units being placed in recesses below the windows, the lighting fix- 
tures being simple wrought-iron lantern forms, old Norman style, 
placed on the side walls. 

The Lucina Memorial Chapel was erected in accordance with 
the wishes of the late E. Stevens Henry, who left a bequest of 
$30,000 for this purpose. It was built by the H. Wales Lines Com- 

It seemed peculiarly fitting that the first body to be taken 
into the new chapel should be that of a member of the Henry 
family and this is in itself a solemn dedication of the edifice to 
the use for which it was intended by the donor. 

The funeral service was for the sister of the donor, Miss Esther 
Henry, of Hartford, one of the four surviving sisters of E. Stevens 
Henry. She died on Saturday, the 13th of January, 1923. 

A sundial, designed by architect Walter B. Chambers of New 
York, was erected in front of the Chapel. 

In the Chapel is a bronze tablet — a Relief Medallion of the 
head of E. Stevens Henry in profile, modelled by a New York 

February 10, 1836-October 10, 1921 
Treasurer of Connecticut 1889-1893 
Mayor of Rockville — 1894-1895 
Member of Congress — 1895-1913 

A cemetery employee, Mr. Charles Hill, recalls that all the 
horses in town were required to move Henry's monument (46 feet 
in height) to its resting place in the cemetery. 

A Memorial Amphitheater was erected in 1888, and the oak 
tree planted nearby in 1847 still flourishes. To this sacred spot on 


every Memorial Day, citizens make their pilgrimage to pay tribute 
to all the soldier dead. 

A few years ago the grave of Rev. Ebenezer Kellogg was trans- 
ferred to the Maxwell family lot in the northeast corner. 

The first part of the cemetery was the West End. Here is 
buried the oldest person; the record on the gravestone reads: 

Almira R. Martin 


(106 years old) 

In the West End, before the cemetery grounds were pur- 
chased by the town, appeared two inscriptions on a gravestone: 


Son of Christopher and Olive 

Died March 2, 1839 

Aged 5 days 


Daughter of Christopher and Olive 

Died December 18, 1839 

Aged 12 years 

These lines are on the grave of Maria M. 
wife of Israel Wood 
Died March 1, 1876 
Aged 52 years 
To you, my friends, who now stand by 
As you are now, so once was I 
As I am now, so must you be 
Prepare for death and follow me. 


Vernon Cemetery, the pioneer cemetery in the East, is of his- 
toric interest. Captain Moses Thrall, first to settle on the tract 
of land in the vicinity of the ancient cemetery in 1703, is buried 
here. Tilted stones and unreadable epitaphs make it a forlorn 


Time-old Elmwood Cemetery at Vernon Center is a triangular 
plot, terraced, and shaded with pines, hemlocks, and cedars. Here 


is the monument dedicated to Ebenezer Kellogg, the pastor of 
Vernon Church for 55 years. Here, too, is the odd shaped granite 
obelisk of Lemuel King, of the famous King Tavern. 


The Southwest Cemetery lies below Dobsonville, where are 
the graves of John Warburton, his wife, and daughter. 

On the tombstone of John Warburton appears the following 
inscription : 

The Remains of John Warburton, Age 38 
Died August 15th, 1810 
O Life, how soon of every bliss forlorn 

We start false joys and urge the devious race 
To all a prey that cheer our youthful morn 

Then sinks untimely and defrauds the chase. 

Another slab reads: 

Mary Booth, wife of John Warburton 
Died at Hartford June 1st, 1811, aged 72 years. 

Another slab reads: 

Sacred to the memory of 

Betsy, daughter of John and Mary Warburton 

Who died March 17th, 1797, in the 4th year of her age. 

"But virtue dwells beyond the tomb." 


St. Bernard's Cemetery dates back to 1855. Additional land 
has been purchased from time to time, improvements have been 
made, and its appearance on Tolland Avenue is attractive. Two 
mausoleums stand in the center of the cemetery, constructed of 
granite, with ornamental iron entrance doors and marble and bronze 
interior. Both memorials are almost identical in size and design. 
One is in memory of Francis Joseph Regan, born February 25, 
1861, died October 10, 1919; the other is in memory of George 
Peter Wendheiser, who died in 1943. 

The old Fair Grounds were purchased by Rev. Fr. George 
Sinnott of St. Bernard's Church in 1929. There were about 26 
acres that came into the possession of the church, intended to be 
used as a reserve cemetery. 


Rev. Edward J. Quinn, who became pastor of St. Bernard's 
Church in 1937, transferred to contractor Fred Romeo about five 
acres. Recently the city of Rockville bought part of these five 
acres for a playground for the new East Street School. The church 
now owns about twenty-one acres for future needs. 

The church within the last few years bought from Mr. Romeo 
that part of the Connecticut Railway cut which extended from 
Kingsbury Avenue to the end of St. Bernard's Cemetery, making 
it possible to connect the Fair Grounds with the cemetery, and 
also giving to the church another entrance both to the cemetery 
and the Fair Grounds, if the church should so desire. 


Mt. Hope Cemetery, Talcottville, is largely maintained by the 
Talcott family. The land was given by the family in 1867 and 
dedicated on the Sabbath of June 30, 1867. There were appro- 
priate exercises — a sermon preached in the church by Rev. George 
A. Oviatt, and singing and prayer on the cemetery grounds. At 
the left of the entrance to the cemetery stands a memorial to Civil 
War veterans — a brown stone shaft, with four names inscribed 
on it. 




Rev. Horace Winslow, pastor of the First Congregational 
Church (1845-1852), was instrumental in beginning the transfor- 
mation of an unsightly open space formed by the intersection of 
the three public streets that met just north of the Rock Company's 
mill into the beautiful central park. It consisted formerly of two 
little parks, one in front of the First Church, oval in shape with 
a small fountain, and another in front of the Second Church, with 
a larger fountain built by the Rock Manufacturing Company. The 
enthusiasm of this community pastor inspired the people, and the 
services of men and teams were freely offered for the work. Many 
trees were planted and a road was constructed between the two 
small parks. 

In 1877, the Park Improvement Committee, consisting of 
Messrs. Fitton, Orcutt, McCray, Henry, James and Hammond, car- 
ried out large plans. After visiting the stone quarries of Monson, 
they decided to build a wall around the park, with a handsome 
coping in lengths of six feet, the top to be dressed flat and leveled 
on the front edge, to stand three feet above the highway. This 
was accomplished in 1878, in the midst of a time of financial 
stress, at an expense of about $5,000, and no difficulty was experi- 
enced in raising the money. The Town appropriated $1750 for 
600 tons of stone shipped from Monson. $3,000 was required. 

The little triangular plot of ground was thus surrounded by a 
substantial stone curbing. The plans and specifications by F. W. 
Clark, civil engineer, were so carefully made that the joints matched 
like cabinet work when set up. After more than seventy-four 
years the stone curbing still stands. 

The dainty fountain of cool spring water, offered to the public 
without money or price or condition, proved a source of refresh- 
ment to all who had an occasion to pass that way. At times there 
was quite a crowd about it, waiting their turns, and it was appar- 
ent to all what a good influence such a convenient supply of sweet, 
wholesome water must be to the thirsty multitude who still relish 
and believe in the primeval beverage. 

Aaron Wolfe, proprietor of the Brooklyn Street livery stable, 
had the honor of driving to the fountain a fine team of horses 
promptly at 11 o'clock for the first drink from the tempting bowl. 
While the horses were slaking their thirst, the owner drew from his 



pocketbook a "V" which he politely handed to Mr. J. C. Ham- 
mond, Chairman of the Park Committee, for the privilege of giv- 
ing his horses the first drink. The Brooklyn Mayor was the first to 
slake his raging thirst, for which he tendered a cool quarter. His 
commenable example was followed by some twenty others in quick 
succession, who asked for no trust. William Randall & Son's team 
took an early drink, for which two dollars was cheerfully tendered. 
Flocks of lively children hung around the fountain on the opening 
day, being seized with a most uncommon desire to try the new 

The only criticism of the fountain came in the form of a sug- 
gestion that its appearance would be much improved esthetically 
if "the mouths of the lions were stopped, say three or four of them 
and a full stream allowed to issue forth from the remaining one 
or two." 





Here is the story of the Cogswell Fountain in Central Park, 
which for more than twenty years held a secret as elusive as that 
of the Sphinx. 

In the year of 1881, a certain L. T. Frisbie visited San Fran- 
cisco, California, where he met Dr. Henry D. Cogswell, who 
through the offices of dentistry and speculation strolled to fame 
and fortune in that popular city. Dr. Cogswell never lost an op- 
portunity to express his interest in the temperance cause, and in 
the course of a friendly conversation offered to erect for Rockville 
a public drinking fountain of ornamental design. Mr. Frisbie 
promptly reported the offer to the town officials, stating that the 
philanthropist, a Tolland County boy, agreed to donate a hand- 
some iron fountain, stipulating that the town furnish a proper 
site and assume the care of the fountain. 

Early in January, 1882, William T. Cogswell received a letter 
from his cousin offering to give a drinking fountain to the town of 
Vernon, if it could be accepted upon terms prescribed by the 
doctor, if not, the gift would be bestowed elsewhere. 

Delighted with the prospect, the town officials eagerly 
called a meeting to consider and act upon the matter on August 
25, 1882. J. W. Stickney was chosen moderator, and Benezet H. 
Bill offered the following resolutions: 

"Resolved that the Town accept the ornamental Drinking 
Fountain generously donated by Dr. H. D. Cogswell of San Fran- 
cisco to the Town of Vernon, for which the Town hereby expresses 
its grateful acknowledgments and extends its cordial thanks, trust- 
ing that the beneficent influence of the fountain and the humane 
and benevolent purpose of the donor will be fully realized." 

"Resolved that the Town will provide a suitable foundation 
for and locate such fountain at some point in Rockville in said 
town where the same will be most convenient and accessible, and 
will supply the water, plumbing, lights, lampposts, globes for gas or 
electric lights, and ice in warm weather, necessary for the same, and 
will hereafter preserve and maintain such fountain and in default 
of thereof the same shall be forfeited to the donor or his legal 

"Resolved that a committee of five persons be appointed to 
communicate with Dr. Cogswell and to do all acts necessary to 



cany into full effect the terms of these resolutions, and that such 
sum as may be necessary, not exceeding $500, be appropriated from 
the treasury of the Town." Resolutions were passed. 

With the urgency of a telegram, William T. Cogswell, a cousin 
of the donor, a veteran carpenter of this town, who made all the 
coffins and at the same time served as Justice of the Peace, wrote 
Dr. Cogswell as to the preparations necessary and received a photo- 
graph of the designed fountain. This photograph was placed con- 
spicuously in the Rockville post office to give citizens an oppor- 
tunity of inspection. A detailed plan supplemented the picture: 
dimensions of the foundation; the step to the platform; the inscrip- 
tion; and most challenging, the statue of the donor of "the Guar- 
dian of the Fountain," with modern dress, six and a half feet high, 
resting on his left foot, presenting a cup of cold water with the 
right hand and holding a scroll or temperance pledge in the left 

By June of the following year, 1883, the Monumental Bronze 
Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut, had completed the White 
Bronze Fountain, and were ready to ship it to Rockville. A few 
members of the appointed committee went down to Bridgeport, 
and when they saw what they thought was a monstrosity, they were 
flabbergasted. They didn't know what to do. The gift had been 
accepted by the Town without a ripple of dissension, so they re- 
turned home with sealed lips. Finally the Fountain arrived in 
Rockville. There was no formal dedication, for sentiment had 
grown into resentment. Many expressed themselves volcanically. 
They did not like the inscription in honor of a living citizen, they 
abhorred the statue on top of the monument, not because of the 
figure on it, but because of the metallic cup of water in one hand 
and a temperance pledge in the other. 

The moral ceiling was low at that time. The controversy 
on the liquor question in the town was verv bitter, and the town 
meetings provided a frenzied atmosphere when the people voted 
on the issue of license or no license. In 1881, 476 voted for license, 
364 against— a total vote of 840; in 1882. 483 for, 327 against— 
vote of 810; in 1883, 519 for, 351 against— 860; in 1884, 504 against, 
466 for— 970; in 1885, 729 voted for license, 427 against— 1156. 
And now here was a cup of water for a drink and a temperance 
oledge to sign! 

The blood pressure in 1885 was up to a new all time high, 
for on the morning of the fourth of July of that year citizens raised 


their eyebrows as they looked at the Cogswell fountain. The 
statue of the Guardian of the Fountain had mysteriously disap- 
peared in the night. Wagon tracks were traced to Snipsic Lake 
where the trail ended. There had been very little rain for some 
time and Snipsic was very low. The statue was found and sev- 
eral days later was fished out of the mud, given a good scrubbing, 
and one night returned to the monument. But it again disappeared. 

On the Fourth of July, 1908, there was a mammoth Centen- 
nial celebration here, and lo, wonder of wonders, the statue reap- 
peared. It stood alongside the Cogswell fountain bearing the label 
— "I've come back for Old Home Week!" The incident caused 
more talk and excited more curiosity than any other subject among 
the thousands of visitors on that memorable occasion. 

Years ago news out of Rockville was seldom worth more than 
a few inches in the Hartford papers, but a Sunday issue of the 
Courant devoted half a page to the story with heading, "From 
Pedestal to Poor House — The Fate of the Guardian of the Foun- 

After the week's celebration, it was found that the statue had 
no visible means of support, so was sent to the Town Farm — the 
poor house. It was sold for junk in the last World War. 


The Cogswell Polytechnical College, Folsom Street, San Fran- 
cisco, (Robert W. Dodd, A.M. President) is a splendid monument 
to the generosity of Dr. Henry D. and Mrs. Cogswell. 

This school was the first technical school of secondary educa- 
tion west of St. Louis, and, for a number of years, was the sole 
pioneer in this line. The school was organized on March 19, 1887, 
and instruction began in the early fall of 1888. The revenue from 
the endowment left by Dr. and Mrs. Cogswell has been sufficient 
to operate the school without tuitional cost to its students. The 
finances of the school are handled by a self -perpetuating Board of 
Trustees. This Board has so conducted the affairs of the college 
that the endowment, which at the time of the opening was worth 
$750,000 has a value today of more than two million dollars. 

Cogswell Polytechnical College is open to high school grad- 
uates without tuitional charge and offers two-year intensive courses 
that prepare for leadership and provide a thorough groundwork 
in engineering fundamentals and the skilled crafts. 

Dr. Cogswell died in the summer of 1910. 



William T. Cogswell, a cousin of Dr. Henry D. Cogswell, 
came from Tolland to Rockville when he was 22 years of age. He 
was the village oracle, and his accuracy regarding dates was never 
questioned. He died July 5, 1886, leaving a wife, son and daugh- 
ter. There are many monuments of his enterprise and executive 
ability in numerous edifices here and in Hartford. 

Living at 30 Davis Avenue, until March 12, 1955, was another 
cousin, Mrs. Bessie Cogswell Martin, who was highly esteemed in 
the community. 


The first menagerie and circus which came to town in 1850 
pitched tent on what is now known as Talcott Park. It consisted 
of one small tent and one ring — few animals, few men, fewer 
horses and wagons. Later the cows were driven out of the Park 
and the old watering trough on the corner of Park Place and Elm 
Street, which attracted many people daily, was closed. 

The Park Association did excellent work in beautifying the 
spot. Mrs. Hudson H. Kellogg, who lived at that time on Park 



Street, assisted. She enlisted men with teams, shovelers and work- 
men in general were drafted, money was collected, the walks were 
fixed up, and the whole park became a thing of beauty and a joy. 

The City records show that the Park Association gave Talcott 
Park to the City in September, 1895. Its history dates back to 
June 17, 1852, when it was purchased in the name of Andrew W. 
Tracy, trustee, for $2,000. A group subscribed. It was six years 
after the purchase that the Park Association was formed. 

In 1861, at the outbreak of the Civil War, early risers were 
surprised one morning to see hanging from the yard arm, 50 feet 
up on the flag pole, an effigy of Jeff Davis. It looked as if Jeff 
Davis had repented and had decided to hang himself under the 
Stars and Stripes. 

Near the fountain was a tall flagpole, also a bandstand, the 
general headquarters for speeches and music on the Fourth of 
July and other holidays. Rockville had a very good band in the 
50's. John W. Thayer was the leader, and a growing population 
enjoyed the music. 




The Rockville Bank (a State bank) was incorporated by an 
act of corporation passed at the May session of the General Assem- 
bly of 1855, and the certificate was issued July 24, 1855, for the 
first commercial bank in Rockville. Its first officers were: Presi- 
dent, Allen Hammond; Secretary, John N. Stickney; Treasurer, 
Elliott B. Preston. The directors consisted of: Allen Hammond, 
Alonzo Bailey, Chauncey Winchell, Lebbeus Bissell, Harvey Kings- 
bury, Nathaniel Haywood, Ansel Arnold, Allyn Kellogg, and John 
N. Stickney. Its capital at the start of business was $200,000. 
Nine years later, 1864, it was organized as a national bank. 

Previous to 1890, the bank occupied a small one-storied building 
which stood on the same site as the present building. During the 
disatrous fire of April 3, 1888, which destroyed the Second Con- 
gregational Church, the south side of the bank building was badly 
damaged, and it was torn down to make room for the present 
modern banking house. 

On December 16, 1929, the Hartford Connecticut Company, 
a subsidiary of the Hartford Connecticut Trust Company, volun- 




tarily acquired a controlling interest in the stock of the Rockviile 
National Bank. At about the same time, the Hartford Connecticut 
Company also acquired stock of the First National Bank of Rock- 
viile which was then subsequently merged with the Rockviile 
National Bank on July 26, 1930. Following the merger of these 
two banks, legislation was passed in Connecticut permitting opera- 
tion of branch banks and these two aforementioned banks became 
the Rockviile Branch of the Hartford Connecticut Trust Company 
on December 26, 1933. 


Soon after the enactment of the National Banking Act of 
1863, the First National Bank of Rockviile was organized. At the 
beginning the Rockviile Bank offered the use of its banking house 
and other facilities, and its officers also served as officals of the 
First National Bank. The national charter of this bank was dated 
January 4, 1864, and its original authorized capital was $50,000. 

From 1868 until 1930, when it was merged with the Rockviile 
National Bank, the First National Bank occupied quarters under 



the Methodist Church on Park Place. On January 23, 1868, George 
Talcott was elected president, and he served the bank as its chief 
executive officer for a period of forty-three years. His career 
in the financial life of the town was characterized by faithfulness 
and fidelity. 

In December, 1924, experienced cracksmen are suspected to 
have been the instigators of an unsuccessful attempt to blow open 
the vault and safe of the bank some time on a Sunday evening or 
early Monday morning. The intended burglary was not discov- 
ered until Monday morning when the workmen of the H. Wales 
Lines Company reported for work. The bank was being remod- 
elled and the safe was moved back into the vestry of the church, 
where the bank was temporarily located. They were thoroughly 
acquainted with details and must have been watching the prog- 
ress of reconstruction. A charge of dynamite was found. A win- 
dow on the west side of the building had been forced. 



The new building of the Savings Bank of Rockville was erect- 
ed on Park Street. The plans had been prepared by architect 
Ernest Flagg, of New York. It stands 58 feet high, is convenient, 
attractive and modern. It is of the Greek style of architecture and 
built of Indiana limestone. It is lighted by five large windows 
on each side, and has a front of attractive design, with a spacious 

The bank officers purchased the Tillotson property on Park 
Street, April 23, 1913, as the site, opposite the lot of the new post 
office. By the purchase of the 20 feet adjoining land of H. L. 
James, March 20, 1914, the bank has a large lot with a frontage 
of 70 feet and a depth of 165 feet. 

The Savings Bank of Rockville has had an interesting history: 
a continuous growth since its incorporation in the month of Sep- 
tember, 1858, when Rockville had a population of not more than 

It is interesting to observe that the first officers elected were 
all prominent citizens of that day: President, George Kellogg; Vice- 
President, Dwight Loomis; Secretary and Treasurer, Lebbeus Bis- 
sell; directors, Stanley White, George Kellogg, Phineas Talcott, 
Lebbeus Bissell, W. T. Cogswell, Ansel Arnold, Harvey Kingsbury, 
Dwight Loomis, Chauncey Winchell, Francis McLean, and Daniel 

Much of the success has been due to the financial ability and 
management of Lebbeus Bissell, who held office until his death at 
93 years, the long term of forty-five years. One of the leading 
business men, he erected a building on West Main Street, known 
in later years as the L. C. King block, located west of the Max- 
well Apartments, now owned by the Rockville Hospital. This 
building housed a dry goods store on the lower floor, and he lived 
in a tenement over the store. When the bank was organized, it 
was located in the store of Lebbeus Bissell, and in his charge. The 
first deposit was made by Elliott Palmer of Vernon, the sum of 
$175.00. The deposits of the first month amounted to $3569, and 
the first year to $65,384. It became one of the strongest financial 
institutions in Eastern Connecticut. The first interest rate was 
iy 2 %, paid January 1, 1859. 



During the period the Bank was established in Bissell's store, 
a great sensation was caused in the village by a daring burglary. 
Not much attention was given to strong bank vaults in those days, 
and the securities of the bank were kept in a large safe of primi- 
tive design, kept in the store. It locked with a key, but in a 
peculiar manner, and it is supposed that Mr. Bissell was watched 
for a number of nights before the burglary when he locked the 
safe. The burglars entered the tenement of Mr. Bissell and se- 
cured the key to the safe. They then forced an entrance to the 
store, unlocked the safe with the key, and secured securities of 
the value of about $10,000. Fortunately, they were nearly all in 
bonds, and there was very little cash in the safe. 

Pinkerton detectives some time later secured a few of the bonds 
that were not negotiable. 

Present Officers: 

Frank B. Frisbie President 

Claude A. Mills Vice-President 

Frederick E. Hallcher Vice-President & Treasurer 

Charles E. Pressler, Jr Secretary and Ass't Treasurer 

Herman W. Usher Assistant Treasurer 

Present rate of interest 1953 2%% 
Present Total Assets: $16,545,218.80 


A resolution incorporating the People's Savings Bank was in- 
troduced in the May session of the General Assembly, 1870, by the 
following men, none of whom are now living, and all of whom 
were among the most prominent men who ever resided in Rock- 
ville: Cyrus Winchell, John W. Thayer, L. A. Corbin, A. Park 
Hammond, R. G. Holt, Frederick Walker, George A. Groves, 
George H. Kingsbury, Chauncey Winchell, Trumbull Newcomb, 
Joseph Selden, E. S. Henry, A. C. Crosby, William R. Orcutt, 
Asaph D. McKinney, James F. Preston, Francis Keeney, Robert 
Patton, Dwight Marcy, Ansel Arnold, S. G. Risley, Julius Rich, 
George M. Paulk, E. C. Chapman and L. E. Thompson. 

Of its founders, the man probably most remembered will be 
the Hon. E. Stevens Henry, Congressman from the First District 
for many years, who served as Treasurer of the Bank from its or- 
ganization until his death on October 10, 1921. It is he who gave 
to the City of Rockville approximately 25 acres of land at Fox 
Hill, now known as Henry Park, and $25,000.00 to develop it, which 
park now is used for recreational purposes by so many, and to the 




Town of Vernon the Henry Building at the corner of Park Street 
and Park Place, the net income from which is turned over to the 
Grove Hill Cemetery Committee for their use in caring for the 
Cemetery, and the Lucina Memorial Chapel in Grove Hill 

In the resolution incorporating the Bank, Cyrus Winchell, 
J. W. Thayer, E. S. Henry and A. Park Hammond were author- 
ized to call the first meeting of the corporators, and this meeting 
was called for June 23, 1870. 

The incorporators met in the Rockville House July 1, 1870, 
with Francis Keeney as Chairman and E. C. Chapman, the hotel 
proprietor, as Clerk. The following officers were elected: Presi- 
dent, John W. Thayer; Vice-President, Cyrus Winchell; Secretary, 
E. C. Chapman; and Treasurer, E. Stevens Henry. 

The first Treasurer was voted a salary of $200.00, which in 



1873 was raised to $300.00, and in 1893 to $500.00, and, in accord- 
ance with Mr. Henry's wish, this amount remained the same dur- 
ing the remainder of the time he served as Treasurer, which was 
until his death in 1921. 

During the 83 years of its existence, the Bank has had but 
six (6) Presidents: 

jonn W. Thayer 


George M. Paulk 


William H. Prescott 


E. H. Preston 


John E. Fisk 


Donald C. Fisk 


Seven (7) Vice-Presidents: 

Cyrus Winchell 


E. H. Preston 


John E. Fisk 


F. A. Randall 


George W. Randall 


Frederick N. Belding 


Frank A. Hardenbergh 


Six (6) Secretaries: 

E. C. Chapman 


E. Stevens Henry 


S. A. Harrington 


S. C. Millard 


George W. Randall 


J. Everett North 


Three (3) Treasurers: 

E. Stevens Henry 


George W. Randall 


J. Everett North 


and Two (2) Assistant Treasurers: 

J. Everett North 


Raymond W. Spurling 


Many of the prominent business men of the City have served 
as Directors, among them the following: Alvah N. Belding, Sam- 
uel Fitch, William H. Prescott, Henry Adams, Thomas A. Lake, 
Francis T. Maxwell, C. E. Harwood, Dr. Thomas F. Rockwell, 
Edward White, John E. Fahey, A. Leroy Martin, Frederick J. 
Cooley, H. H. Larkum, John Kuhnly, Dennis J. McCarthy, William 
A. Howell, William N. Pinney, Frank A. Mann and William V. 
Sadlak. Of the above-mentioned, William N. Pinney still is living 
in the Pinney Homestead in Ellington, having retired as a Director 
several years ago. 


At the end of the first year total assets of $30,833.81 were 
shown. In 1880, the end of the first ten years, the assets were 
$379,222.19, and in 1893 the half million mark was passed. The 
end of thirty years showed assets of $522,576.70, while in 1910 
they were $957,294.14. Fifty years of successful banking showed 
assets of $2,089,412.48, and seventy-five years, $5,046,252.82. At 
the present time assets are over $7,000,500.00, and depositors num- 
ber over 4,800. 

During the 83-year period of its existence, no payment of in- 
terest to the depositors ever has been omitted, or deferred, the rates 
of interest paid having fluctuated with the conditions of the pe- 
riods in which earned from as high as 6%% to as low as 2%, with 
2%% currently being paid. From 1917 until 1930 an annual rate 
of 5% was maintained, the Bank being one of the very few in 
the State that paid such a rate consistently. 

The present Board of Directors is as follows: Donald C. Fisk, 
George Arnold, Jr., Frederick H. Holt, John P. Cameron, R. Leland 
Keeney, J. Everett North, Frank E. Hardenbergh, Roy C. Fergu- 
son, John F. Dailey, Jr., John R. Gottier, John S. Mason, Paul B. 
Sweeney and Alfred W. Cavedon. 

In addition to the active officers, the Bank's staff consists of 
Nettie A. Smith, Kenneth Merk and Nancy A. Gottier, with Angelo 
J. DeCarli acting as Janitor. 


The Rockville Building and Loan Association was organized 
November 20, 1889, and incorporated June 30, 1893. 


A. Park Hammond Clayton E. Harwood 

John P. Cameron Wm. H. Prescott 

Francis T. Maxwell Wm. Rogers 

Frank Rau Oscar Penovsky 

Geo. W. Brigham Wm. Austin 


A. Park Hammond Chas. E. Harris 
E. E. Harwood John P. Cameron 
Wm. H. Prescott Frank Keeney 
Francis T. Maxwell Geo. W. Brigham 

B. F. Mellor Wm. Rogers 
Wm. Austin A. Penovsky 
Frank Rau E. S. Heath 

William Maxwell 


A. Park Hammond President 

Chas. E. Harris Vice-President 

John P. Cameron Secretary 

Clayton E. Harwood Treasurer 

Martin Laubscher Auditors 
Geo. B. Hammond 

At the beginning, the organization was a voluntary association, 
but later was brought under the control and supervision of the 
State. Meetings are held at the association's office in the Fitch 



The first successful telephone experiment in the United States 
was performed in Boston, Massachusetts, March 10, 1876. In the 
building at 109 Court Street, on the top floor, the historic words, 
"Mr. Watson, please come here, I want you!", were transmitted by 
Alexander Graham Bell, whose name is known throughout the 

Bell was a teacher of the deaf at Boston University. During 
an experiment, searching for a way to help the deaf to hear, an 
accident occurred. Over an electric wire came a sound of varied 
intensity. With the vision that comes from special training, Bell 
quickly and excitedly recognized its possibilities, and soon after 
he made the world's first telephone. 

Eight years later fifty-one telephones were in use in Rockville. 
The first telephone office is believed to have been opened in Sills 
Brothers Drug Store on Main Street by the Connecticut Telephone 
Company, a predecessor of The Southern New England Telephone 
Company, in May, 1882. The office was moved to 11 Park Place 
in 1886, and to 15 Park Place in 1888. 

The town of Vernon's acceptance of the new invention was 
slow. In an effort to puncture their complacency, the editor of 
the Journal of October 22, 1881, issued this warning: 

"Thirty-five names only have been subscribed for the 
telephone exchange in this town. Fifty are wanted. The 
president of the company says that that number must be 
procured before anything will be attempted. It looks feas- 
ible to commence with 35 subscribers, but ex-Governor 
Jewett holds the ribbons, and will do as he thinks best." 

Fifty-one responded to the appeal, but strangely enough bv 
1893 the number had declined to twenty-eight — count them — 
twenty-eight. Many expressed themselves volcanically, claiming 
that the introduction of the telephone would destroy the last vestige 
of home privacy. A telephone placed in Vernon Depot in the year 
1883 at considerable expense proved a losing investment to a Mr. 

The office was moved to Room 6 of the Bank Building on 
Elm Street in 1893. Technical improvements of the next few years 
brought more business, and the number of telephones had in- 




creased to nearly 800 by 1911, when common battery service was 
introduced to replace the old hand-cranked magneto telephones. 

In 1915, the exchange had 1,000 telephones, and the 2,000 
figure was reached in 1929. 

The number of telephones in Rockville now stands at about 
4,200. The exchange is served by an operating force of 22 people. 

The number of calls per day has now reached 13,800 local 
calls and 1200 out-of-town calls. Soaring like a thermometer in 
mid-summer they have increasingly become bearers of life's friendly 
words and messages of high import to people everywhere. 

Here is the official list of the first 51 subscribers in the 




Sill Brothers, Managers. 

Adams Express Company Market 

Adams, Henry, residence Prospect 

American Mills, mfrs. cassimere Main 

Aqueduct Company, office Elm 

Bank, First National Park Place 

Bank, Rockville National Elm 
Bank, Rockville Savings, with L. Bissell & Son 

Belding, A. N., residence Talcott Ave. 

Belding Bros., & Company, silk mfrs. Main 

Bissell, L. & Son, insurance agents Park Place 

Brigham, Geo. N., residence Brooklyn 
Brigham, Geo. N., postmaster, with Aqueduct Company 

Burr, B. L., residence Union 

Corbin, W. M., hardware Main 

Dickinson, A. P., hardware Union 

Doane, E. E., confectioner West 

Fitch, S. & Sons, stockinet mfrs. Main 



Fitton, C, residence 

Forbes, Rev. S. B., residence 

Gas Works 

Gas Office, with Rock Mfg. Company 

Hammond, J. C, with Aqueduct Company 

Harvey, C, hotel 

Hockanum Company, mfrs. cassimere 

Journal Office 

Keeney Bros., grocers 

Leader Office 

Martin, W. B., wood yard and teaming 

Maxwell, Geo., residence 

New England Company, mfrs. cassimere 

Noble, S. T., residence 

Paulk, Geo. M., residence 

Paulk, Geo. M., lumber yard 

Payne, W. E., coal 

Pratt, T. S., residence 

Ransom Bros., grocers 

Regan, J. J., residence 

Regan, J. J., mfr. flocks and shoddy 

Rock Mfg. Company, mfrs. cassimere 

Sill Bros., druggists 

Styles, E. L., M.D., residence 

Thrall, J. S., livery 

Townsend, Heber, druggist 

Tracy, E. W., market 

Western Union Telegraph Company 

White, Corbin & Co., envelope mfrs. 

White's Grist Mill 

White Mfg. Company,, mfrs. ginghams 

Willis Bros., coal and grain 

Wilson, James, dry goods 

Wolf, Aaron, hotel and livery 









Vernon Ave. 













Park Place 







Park Place 



The Rockville Gas and Electric Company had its beginning 
in 1862 as the Rockville Gas Light Company. In 1890, when the 
Electric department was added, the name was changed to the 
Rockville and Ellington Street Railway Company, and in 1897, by 
a legislative act the present name was adopted. George Maxwell 
was the founder. The plant on Maple Street has been enlarged 
and a great many improvements have been made by the present 
owners, The Connecticut Light and Power Company. 


Rockville became part of the Connecticut Light and Power 
Company formally on October 27, 1935, when the Rockville-Willi- 
mantic Lighting Company was merged into CL&P. For some five 
years previous, however, the Rockville company had been part of 
The Connecticut Electric Service Company which, in 1935, was 
also merged into CL&P. 

The steel structure sub-station was added in 1939 at the same 
time that the 66,000 volt Rockville- Willimantic transmission line 
was built. In April, 1952, a second circuit to this line was put into 
operation; and in May, 1952, a second circuit of 27,600 volts was 
added to the Rockville-Warehouse Point line. The steel trans- 
mission towers leading into the sub-station were completed in 1952 
as part of the job cited above. 

In January, 1949, the transformer capacity of the sub-station 
was increased by about four times, when two 16,000 kva trans- 
formers replaced two 3,750 kva transformers. These recent addi- 
tions were all necessary to supply greatly increased power require- 
ments in the area. 




The following Convalescent Homes are established in the town: 

Green Lawn Convalescent Home, 62 Union Street, Rockville 
Owner, Mrs. Marie Rhodes. 

Hemlock Convalescent Home, 60 Prospect Street, Rockville 
Owner, Mrs. Mary B. Calio. 

The Ashland Convalescent Home, 60 South Street, Rockville 
Owner, Mrs. Lydia B. Ashland. 

Mrs. Grace G. Wilde Rest Home, 63 Brooklyn Street, Rockville 
Owner, Mr. Elton E. Sperry, Tunnel Road, Vernon. 

The Dennis Boarding Home, Tunnel Road, Vernon 
Owner, Mrs. Catherine Dennis. 


The first newspaper in Tolland County was 'The National 
Examiner," and it lasted only one year. It was issued from the 
printing press of Clapp & Robbins, editors and proprietors, at Tol- 
land, on Tuesday, February 10, 1830 — a weekly paper of four pages 
and six columns. 

Tolland at that time was the business center of the county. 
There were several stores, hotels, shops, manufacturing concerns, 
a bank, insurance office, an academy and churches. 

At the end of the first year of publication, J. B. Clapp, the 
senior member of the firm, assisted by one J. Storrs, assumed full 
responsibility and radically changed the sentiment of the paper. 
Its pages were devoted to anti-Masonic propaganda at a time when 
such activity was at its height, and the anti-secret society forces 
throughout the country were up in arms against the Masonic or- 
ganization. A few more issues, and "The National Examiner" 
never appeared again. 

The second venture in Journalism was the "Tolland County 
Gazette," a weekly journal, independent in all things and neutral 
in politics, issued every Thursday. There were many local would- 
be poets in those days, and their original lines were printed. Eleven 
appeared in the first issue, and many more had to be declined. 
A copy of the "Gazette" for June 14, 1855, may be seen in the 
Rockville Public Library. 

An interesting little paper, "The Ellington Star," was pub- 
lished occasionally by the boys of Mr. Barteau's School. 

In 1858, "The Press" was started in Stafford by Fish & Goff, 
publishers of "The Farm" at Palmer, Massachusetts. The paper 
was printed at Palmer until 1862, when the Stafford editor, Mr. 
McLaughlin, bought the Stafford subscription list and removed 
the publishing office to Stafford Springs, where it was continued. 

The "Tolland County Record" made its first appearance Oc- 
tober 22, 1861, which was issued perhaps only a year. Curtis B. 
Wells of Springfield was the publisher, the editor James J. Gil- 
fillan. Very shortly Gilfillan quietly folded his nutmeg tent and 
stole away to Washington, where he entered the Treasury Depart- 
ment, and finally became treasurer of the United States, 1877-1883. 

In 1861 a hardware dealer, a certain Bissell, conducted a 
paper here, and about the same time a Mr. Whitaker issued one 




from the old Simpson Block. From this place, too, A. B. Warner 
started the "Tolland County News," which was sold out to J. A. 

A copy of the "Tolland County Republican" for March 14, 
1857, and a copy of the "Tolland County Herald" for October 20, 
1864, are in the Rockville Public Library. 

On February 7, 1867, the first number of the "Tolland County 
Journal" was issued. J. A. Spaulding was editor, owner and found- 
er. The paper was a folio of seven columns, much wider than 
today's country paper. After five years it was enlarged to nine 

Spaulding continued ownership of the "Journal" until 1872, 
when J. N. Stickney and his son purchased it. Then in 1881 it 
came into the possession of Thomas S. Pratt. Under his manage- 
ment the paper was changed to the "Rockville Journal" in the year 
1887. For several years the "Journal" was 29% inches deep and 
44% inches wide. 

Thomas Strong Pratt was the son of Rev. Stillman Pratt. He 
entered his father's printing business at the age of sixteen. He 
owned and published papers in Middleboro, Rockland, Newbury- 
port, Boston and Marlboro, Massachusetts. He came to Rockville 
in the year 1881, and conducted the Journal printing plant for 



twenty-four years. He purchased it from Arthur N. French, who 
had bought it only a short time before from J. N. Stickney & Com- 
pany. He sold it to the Journal Publishing Company. 

On May 9, 1876, B. L. Burr began the publication of "The 
Tolland County Gleaner," which was printed at the envelope 
works of White, Corbin & Company and which was small in size, 
one page being printed at a time. The Gleaner's office was in 
Skinner's Block on Market Street. In January, 1877, the paper 
was sold to Mr. Phillips, but in February, 1879, Mr. Burr and J. A. 
Byron bought the material but not the paper and started "The 
Tolland County Leader." This partnership was dissolved in 1888 
with Mr. Burr continuing as proprietor until it was sold in October, 
1897, to Rady and Brown. On February 24, 1898, the name of 
the paper was changed to "The Rockville Leader." 

On December 2, 1890, a new Daily Paper — "The Daily Senti- 
nel" — was issued from the Leader's office on a Monday afternoon. 
The new "Daily" was bright, newsy, and attractive. The pub- 
lishers announced that it was published for revenue, and would 
be continued as long as it received the support of the citizens. The 
experiment soon came to an end. 

Newspapers of early dates in Rockville Public Library: 

Connecticut Courant, Monday, October 29, 1764 
Connecticut Courant, Monday, 1777 
Tolland County Gazette 1855 

Tolland County Republican 1857 
Tolland County Herald 1864 

Tolland County News 1865 

Connecticut Courant 1799 

Boston Gazette 1770 

Independent Press, Hartford 1834 
Hartford Weekly Post 1861 

Waterbury Globe, May 17, 1875, has this amusing comment on 
a busy Rockville reporter: 

"There are daily newspapers in Connecticut that never go to 
press until Rockville has been heard from, and if a day should pass 
without a Rockville story from Mr. Foote, the subsequent anguish 
and distress would be fearful to contemplate." 




Ephraim Grant 
Elisha Stearns 
Novatus Chapman 
Jeremiah Parish 
Joseph Bishop 
Erwin O. Dimock 
Lyman Twining Tingier 
Willis H. Reed 
John H. Yeomans 

Date of Appointment 

June 6, 1786 

April 1814 





Sept. 1893 

April 1920 

July 1, 1952 


1889 None 

1890-1893 Judge Gelon West; Associate Judge, George Talcott 

1893-1895 Judge John A. Toohey; Assoc. Judge, George Talcott 

1895-1897 Judge Benezet H. Bill; Assoc. Judge, George Talcott 

1897-1899 Judge Benezet H. Bill; Assoc. Judge, Lester D. Phelps 

1899-1903 Judge Lyman Twining Tingier; Assoc. Judge, Lester D. 


1903-1909 Judge John E. Fisk; Assoc. Judge, Lester D. Phelps 

1909-1929 Judge John E. Fisk; Assoc. Judge John E. Fahey 

1929-1933 Judge John E. Fsk; Assoc. Judge, Edgar B. Dawkins 

1933-1939 Judge John E. Fisk; Assoc. Judge, Thomas L. Larkin 

1939-1941 Judge Thomas L. Larkin; Assoc. Judge, Nelson C. Read 

1941-1943 Judge John N. Keeney; Assoc. Judge, Joseph F. Nash 

1943-1945 Judge Lawrence M. Dillon; Assoc. Judge, Joseph F. Nash 

1945-1947 Judge Thomas F. Rady; Assoc. Judge, Charles J. Underwood 

1947-1949 Judge Charles J. Underwood; Assoc. Judge, Joseph F. Nash 

1949-1951 Judge Saul L. Peizer; Assoc. Judge, Leon Neumann 

1951-1952 Judge Saul L. Peizer; Assoc. Judge, Thomas L. Larkin 

1952-1955 Judge Robert J. Pigeon, Assoc. Judge, Thomas L. Larkin 


Increasingly Efficient and Competent 
Rockville has been exceedingly fortunate in the choice of her Cap- 
tains from the beginning: 

Captain W. H. Cady served from April 1, 1890, until his death June 30, 

Captain Edward J. Kane, July 31, 1907, to his death July 29, 1910. 

Captain Leopold Krause, September 20, 1910, to his retirement on Sep- 
tember 30, 1919. 

Captain Stephen J. Tobin, October 1, 1919, to his death September 28, 

Captain Richard Shea, November 7, 1932, to his death August 26, 1936. 

Captain Peter J. Dowgewicz, appointed November 1, 1936, still in office 
at the end of the year 1955. 
At the present time the Police Department consists of: Captain; 

Sergt; 6 Patrolmen; 1 Meterman; and 10 Supernumeraries; Police Clerk 

and 5 School Traffic Policemen; Also 2 police cruisers, and base radio 

station to cruiser. 




Selectmen — Cornelius Roberts, Oliver Hunt, Lemuel King. 

Town Clerk — Oliver King. Town Treasurer — Oliver King. 


Selectmen — Cornelius Roberts, Oliver Hunt, Lemuel King. 

Town Clerk — Oliver King. Town Treasurer — Oliver King. 










Selectmen — Lemuel King, Lebbeus P. Tinker, Francis McLean. 

Town Clerk & Treasurer — Oliver King. 


Selectmen — Francis McLean, Oliver Hunt, Daniel Daniels. 

Town Clerk & Treasurer — Lebbeus P. Tinker. 


Selectmen — Oliver Hunt, Francis McLean, Oliver H. King. 

Town Clerk & Treasurer — Lebbeus P. Tinker. 


Selectmen — Oliver Hunt, Francis McLean, Oliver H. King. 

Town Clerk & Treasurer — Lebbeus P. Tinker. 


Selectmen — Francis McLean, Oliver King, Delano Abbot. 

Town Clerk & Treasurer — Lebbeus P. Tinker. 


Selectmen — Col. Francis McLean, Cap. Oliver H. King, Delano Abbot. 

Town Clerk & Treasurer — Lebbeus P. Tinker. 


Selectmen — Francis McLean, Oliver H. King, Delano Abbot. 

Town Clerk & Treasurer — Lebbeus P. Tinker. 


Selectmen — Francis McLean, Oliver H. King, Delano Abbot. 

Town Clerk & Treasurer — Lebbeus P. Tinker. 


Selectmen — Francis McLean, Oliver H. King, Thomas W. Kellogg. 

Town Clerk & Treasurer — Lebbeus P. Tinker. 


Selectmen — Francis McLean, Oliver H. King, Thomas W. Kellogg. 

Town Clerk & Treasurer — Lebbeus P. Tinker. 


Selectmen — Francis McLean, Oliver H. King, Thomas W. Kellogg. 

Town Clerk & Treasurer — Lebbeus P. Tinker. 


Selectmen — Francis McLean, Erastus M. Kinney, Joel King. 

Town Clerk & Treasurer — Lebbeus P. Tinker. 




Selectmen — Francis McLean, Joel King, Delano Abbot. 

Town Clerk & Treasurer — Lebbeus P. Tinker. 


Selectmen — Francis McLean, Oliver King, Delano Abbot. 

Town Clerk & Treasurer — Lebbeus P. Tinker. 


Selectmen — Francis McLean, Oliver H. King, Thomas W. Kellogg. 

Town Clerk & Treasurer — Lebbeus P. Tinker. 


Selectmen — Oliver H. King, Oliver Hunt, Roderick Walker. 

Town Clerk & Treasurer — Lebbeus P. Tinker. 


Selectmen — Oliver H. King, Roderick Walker, Alfred Roberts. 

Town Clerk & Treasurer — Lebbeus P. Tinker. 


Selectmen — Roderick Walker, Alfred Roberts, Josiah Hammond. 

Town Clerk & Treasurer — Lebbeus P. Tinker. 


Selectmen — Josiah Hammond, Samuel S. Talcott, Harry W. Miner. 

Town Clerk & Treasurer — Lebbeus P. Tinker. 


Selectmen — Samuel S. Talcott, Sanford Grant, Willard Fuller. 

Town Clerk & Treasurer — Lebbeus P. Tinker. 


Selectmen — Samuel S. Talcott, Sanford Grant, Willard Fuller. 

Town Clerk & Treasurer — Lebbeus P. Tinker. 


Selectmen — Sanford Grant, Willard Fuller, Allen Hammond. 

Town Clerk & Treasurer — Lebbeus P. Tinker. 


Selectmen — Allen Hammond, Samuel S. Talcott, Ralph Talcott. 

Town Clerk & Treasurer — Lebbeus P. Tinker. 


Selectmen — Samuel S. Talcott, Ralph Talcott, Burt McKinney. 

Town Clerk & Treasurer — Lebbeus P. Tinker. 


Selectmen — Burt McKinney, Asa Fuller, Abel Driggs, Jr. 

Town Clerk & Treasurer — Lebbeus P. Tinker. 


Selectmen — Abel Driggs, Jr., Samuel S. Talcott, Alonzo Bailey. 

Town Clerk & Treasurer — Lebbeus P. Tinker. 


Selectmen — Alonzo Bailey, Chester White, John Chapman, Jr. 

Town Clerk & Treasurer — Lebbeus P. Tinker. 


Selectmen — Alonzo Bailey, Chester White, John Chapman, Jr. 

Town Clerk & Treasurer — Lebbeus P. Tinker. 


Selectmen — Alonzo Bailey, Chester White, John Chapman, Jr. 

Town Clerk & Treasurer — Lebbeus P. Tinker. 


Selectmen — Chester White, John Chapman, Jr., Benjamin Talcott. 

Town Clerk & Treasurer — Lebbeus P. Tinker. 



Selectmen — John Chapman, Jr., Benjamin Talcott, Elisha Pember. 

Town Clerk & Treasurer — Lebbeus P. Tinker. 


Selectmen — John Chapman, Jr., Benjamin Talcott (Voted that the 

Selectmen be but two.) 
Town Clerk & Treasurer — Lebbeus P. Tinker. 

Selectmen — John Chapman, Jr., Benjamin Talcott, Elisha Pember. 
Town Clerk & Treasurer — Oliver H. King. 


Selectmen — Benjamin Talcott 2, Elisha Pember 3, Chester White 1. 

Town Clerk & Treasurer — Oliver H. King. 


Town Clerk & Treasurer — Oliver H. King. 

Selectmen — Elisha Pember, Benjamin Talcott, Francis McLean, Jr. 


Town Clerk & Treasurer — Oliver H. King. 

Selectmen — Phineas Talcott, Josiah Hammond, Thaddeus C. Bruce. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Phineas Talcott. 

Selectmen — Thaddeus C. Bruce, Alonzo Bailey, Asa Fuller. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Phineas Talcott. 

Selectmen — Allyu Talcott, Alonzo Bailey, Asa Fuller. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Phineas Talcott. 

Selectmen — Allyu Talcott, Stanley White, Horace Taylor. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Francis McLean, Jr. 

Selectmen — Ira Thrall, Harlow K. Grant, A. C. Crosby. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Francis McLean, Jr. 

Selectmen — Chauncey Winchell, Frederick Walker, Francis Keeney. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Benezet H. Bill. 

Selectmen — Ira Thrall, Miner Preston, Henry Selden. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Moses B. Bull. 

Selectmen — A. K. Talcott, Henry Deldeu, Dudley T. Miner. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Moses B. Bull. 

Selectmen — E. S. Hurlburt, C. D. Talcott, Albert Dart. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Moses B. Bull. 

Selectmen — Phineas Talcott, Asa Fuller, Isaac Chester. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Moses B. Bull. 

Selectmen — Joseph Selden, Stephen G. Risley, George W. Sparks. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Moses B. Bull. 

Selectmen — Phineas Talcott, George W. Sparks, Isaac Chester. 



clerk & Treasurer — Moses B. Bull. 

Selectmen — Isaac Chester, John S. Dobson, Harvey King. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Moses B. Bull. 

Selectmen — Isaac Chester, Phineas Talcott, Albert Dart. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Moses B. Bull. 

Selectmen — Isaac Chester, Albert Dart, George Kellogg, Jr. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Moses B. Bull. 

Selectmen — Albert Dart, George Kellogg, Jr., C. A. Corbin. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Moses B. Bull. 

Selectmen — Ryal G. Holt, Charles A. Corbin, George M. Paulk. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Moses B. Bull. 

Selectmen — William R. Orcutt, Hubbard Tucker, Nathaniel R. Grant. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Moses B. Bull. 

Selectmen — Lewis A. Corbin, Alfred R. Talcott, F. B. Little. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Moses B. Bull. 

Selectmen — Albert Dart, Chester S. Hunt, George Talcott. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Moses B. Bull. 

Selectmen — George Talcott, Ira Thrall, Nathaniel R. Grant. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Moses B. Bull. 

Selectmen — John G. Bailey, Frederick Walker, Nathaniel R. Grant. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Moses B. Bull. 

Selectmen — William R. Orcutt, Ira Thrall, William Butler. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Charles P. Thompson 

Selectmen — William R. Orcutt, William Butler, Ira Thrall. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Charles P. Thompson 

Selectmen — William R. Orcutt, William Butler, Ira Thrall. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Charles P. Thompson 

Selectmen — William R. Orcutt, Ira Thrall, James Fitzgerald. 


Treasurer & Registrar — Charles P. Thompson. 

Selectmen — William R. Orcutt, August Hemmann, Ryal G. Holt. 


Clerk, Treasurer & Registrar — Charles P. Thompson. 

Selectmen — William R. Orcutt, Smith S. Talcott, August Hemmann. 


Clerk, Treasurer & Registrar — Charles P. Thompson. 

Selectmen — George Talcott, Smith S. Talcott, Henry Burke. 


Clerk, Treasurer & Registrar — Charles P. Thompson. 

Selectmen — George Talcott, Smith S. Talcott, Lawrence Young. 



Clerk, Treasurer & Registrar — Charles P. Thompson. 

Selectmen — George Talcott, Elisha H. Lathrop, Bradley M. Sears. 


Clerk, Treasurer & Registrar — Charles P. Thompson. 

Selectmen — Francis L. Dickinson, Maro Hammond, James Fitzgerald. 


Clerk, Treasurer & Registrar — Charles P. Thompson. 

Selectmen — George Talcott, Nathaniel R. Grant, James Fitzgerald. 


Clerk, Treasurer & Registrar — Charles P. Thompson. 

Selectmen — James Fitzgerald, Elam O. Allen, George Talcott. 


Clerk, Treasurer and Registrar — Gelon W. West. 

Selectmen — James Fitzgerald, Edgar Kenney, Elam O. Allen. 


Clerk, Treasurer and Registrar — Gelon W. West. 

Selectmen — James Fitzgerald, Edgar Kenney, Ryal G. Holt. 


Clerk, Treasurer and Registrar — Gelon W. West. 

Selectmen — James Fitzgerald, Edgar Kenney, Harry T. Miner. 


Clerk, Treasurer and Registrar — Gelon W. West. 

Selectmen — James Fitzgerald, Edgar Kenney, Henry G. Ransom. 


Clerk, Treasurer and Registrar — Gelon W. West. 

Selectmen — Henry G. Ransom, Edward A. Kuhnly, Philip Kramer. 


Clerk, Treasurer and Registrar — Gelon W. West. 

Selectmen — Harry T. Miner, Orren C. West, Lawrence Young. 


Clerk, Treasurer and Registrar — Gelon W. West. 

Selectmen — Orren C. West, Lawrence Young, John Wagner. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Francis B. Skinner. 

Selectmen — Orren C. West, Lawrence Young, Harry T. Miner. 


Clerk, Treasurer & Registrar — Francis B. Skinner. 

Selectmen — Amasa P. Dickinson, Harry T. Miner, Lawrence Young. 


Clerk, Treasurer & Registrar — Francis B. Skinner. 

Selectmen — Amasa P. Dickinson, Frank R. Rau, Andrew J. Cavanaugh. 


Clerk, Treasurer & Registrar — Francis B. Skinner. 

Selectmen — Amasa P. Dickinson, Frank R. Rau, Charles Tennert. 


Clerk, Treasurer & Registrar — Francis B. Skinner. 

Selectmen — Amasa P. Dickinson, Parley B. Leonard, Charles Leonard. 


Clerk, Treasurer & Registrar — Francis B. Skinner. 

Selectmen — John E. Fahey, Parley B. Leonard, Charles Tennert. 


Clerk, Treasurer & Registrar — Francis B. Skinner. 

Selectmen — John E. Fahey, Parley B. Leonard, Andrew J. Cavanaugh. 



Clerk, Treasurer & Registrar — Francis B. Skinner. 

Selectmen — Parley B. Leonard, F. Romaine Tucker, Edgar Keeney. 


Clerk, Treasurer & Registrar — Francis B. Skinner. 

Selectmen — Parley B. Leonard, F. Romaine Tucker, Dwight F. Lull. 


Clerk, Treasurer & Registrar — Francis B. Skinner. 

Selectmen — Parley B. Leonard, F. Romaine Tucker, Frederick J. Cooley. 


Clerk, Treasurer & Registrar — Francis B. Skinner. 

Selectmen — Parley B. Leonard, F. Romaine Tucker, Andrew J. Cava- 


Clerk, Treasurer & Registrar — Francis B. Skinner. 

Selectmen — Parley B. Leonard, Charles W. Bradley, Andrew J. Cava- 


Clerk, Treasurer & Registrar — Francis B. Skinner. 

Selectmen — Parley B. Leonard, Charles W. Bradley, George D. Goodrich. 


Clerk, Treasurer & Registrar — Francis B. Skinner. 

Selectmen — Parley B. Leonard Paul Brache, Frederick J. Cooley. 


Clerk, Treasurer — Francis B. Skinner. 

Selectmen — Parley B. Leonard, Paul Brache, John H. Zimmerman. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Francis B. Skinner. 

Selectmen — Parley B. Leonard, Paul Brache, George D. Goodrich. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Francis B. Skinner. 

Selectmen — Parley B. Leonard, Paul Brache, William Stafford. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Francis B. Skinner. 

Selectmen — Parley B. Leonard, Paul Brache, John H. Zimmerman. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Francis B. Skinner. 

Selectmen — Parley B. Leonard, Paul Brache, John H. Zimmerman. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Francis B. Skinner. 

Selectmen — Parley B. Leonard, Paul Brache, John H. Zimmerman. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Francis B. Skinner. 

Selectmen — Frederick J. Cooley, John H. Zimmerman, Frank P. Robert- 


Clerk & Treasurer — Francis B. Skinner. 

Selectmen — Frank P. Robertson, Frederick J. Cooley, John H. Zim- 


Clerk & Treasurer — Francis B. Skinner. 

Selectmen — Frank P. Robertson, Frank R. Rau, John H. Zimmerman. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Francis B. Skinner. 

Selectmen — Frank P. Robertson, Frank R. Rau, Thomas F. Farrell. 



Asst. Clerk & Treasurer — John B. Thomas. 

Selectmen — Frank R. Rau, Frank P. Robertson, Arno Weber. 


Clerk & Treasurer — John B. Thomas. 

Selectmen — Frank R. Rau, Dwight B. Gardner, Orrin C. West. 


Clerk & Treasurer — John B. Thomas. 

Selectmen — Frederick J. Cooley, Frank R. Rau, Dwight B. Gardner. 


Clerk & Treasurer — John B. Thomas. 

Selectmen — Charles M. Squires, Frank R. Rau, F. J. Cooley. 


Clerk & Treasurer — John B. Thomas. 

Selectmen — Charles M. Squires, Frank R. Rau, Thomas Farrell. 


Clerk & Treasurer — John B. Thomas. 

Selectmen — Charles M. Squires, Frank R. Rau, Thomas Farrell. 


Clerk & Treasurer — John B. Thomas. 

Selectmen — Charles M. Squires, George Arnold, Jr., Earl C. Northrop. 


Clerk & Treasurer — John B. Thomas. 

Selectmen — Charles M. Squires, George Arnold, Jr., James F. Costello. 


Clerk & Treasurer — John B. Thomas. 

Selectmen — Charles M. Squires, George Arnold, Jr., Joseph Lavitt. 


Clerk & Treasurer — John B. Thomas. 

Selectmen — Charles M. Squires, George Arnold, Jr., James F. Costello. 


Clerk & Treasurer — John B. Thomas. 

Selectmen — George Arnold, Jr., N. Morgan Strong, James F. Costello. 


Clerk & Treasurer — John B. Thomas. 

Selectmen — George Arnold, Jr., N. Morgan Strong, Christopher E. Jones. 


Clerk & Treasurer — John B. Thomas. 

Selectmen — George Arnold, Jr., N. Morgan Strong, Robert P. Reynolds. 


Clerk & Treasurer — John B. Thomas. 

Selectmen — George Arnold, Jr., N. Morgan Strong, Robert P. Reynolds. 


Clerk & Treasurer — John B. Thomas. 

Selectmen — Francis J. Prichard, Orlando Ransom, Robert P. Reynolds. 


Clerk & Treasurer — John B. Thomas. 

Selectmen — Francis J. Prichard, Orlando Ransom, Robert P. Reynolds. 


Clerk & Treasurer — John B. Thomas. 

Selectmen — Francis J. Prichard, Orlando Ransom, John McKenna. 


Clerk & Treasurer — John B. Thomas. 

Selectmen — Francis J. Pritchard, Orlando Ransom, Arthur J. Morin. 




Clerk & Treasurer — John B. Thomas. 

Selectmen — Francis J. Prichard, Orlando Ransom, Frederick J. Foley. 


Clerk & Treasurer — John B. Thomas. 

Selectmen — Francis J. Prichard, Orlando Ransom, Max J. Schmidt. 


Clerk & Treasurer — John B. Thomas. 

Selectmen — Francis J. Prichard, Orlando Ransom, Robert P. Reynolds. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Frederick G. Hartenstein. 

Selectmen — Frederick J. Cooley, Herbert F. Krause, William J. Dunlap. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Frederick G. Hartenstein. 

Selectmen — F. J. Cooley, Herbert F. Krause, William J. Dunlap. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Frederick G. Hartenstein. 

Selectmen — George C. Sheets, Herbert F. Krause, Agustus M. Burke. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Frederick G. Hartenstein. 

Selectmen — George C. Sheets, Herbert F. Krause, Agustus M. Burke. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Arthur E. Hayward. 

Selectmen — Ernest A. Schindler, Kerwin A. Elliott, Arthur J. Guzman. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Arthur E. Hayward. 

Selectmen — Ernest A. Schindler, Kerwin A. Elliott, Arthur J. Guzman. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Arthur E. Hayward. 

Selectmen — Ernest A. Schindler, Kerwin A. Elliott, Christopher E. Jones. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Arthur E. Hayward.* 

Selectmen — Ernest A. Schindler, Kerwin A. Elliott, Christopher E. Jones. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Kerwin A. Elliott. 

Selectmen — Ernest A. Schindler, Vincent F. Jordan, John Rorup. 


Clerk & Treasurer — Kerwin A. Elliott. 

Selectmen — Ernest A. Schindler, Vincent F. Jordan, John Rorup. 

*Died Sept. 30, 1944. Kerwin A. Elliott appointed, by Board of Select- 
men, to fill unexpired term to Jan. 1, 1946. Before appointed, Elliott 
resigned from Board of Selectmen and Jordan was appointed to fill the 


When this work was begun I publicly expressed the hope that 
it would be "not my book, but our book." That hope has now 
been fully realized. Many Rockville people have contributed to 
the historical value of "our" book, and I am very grateful. 

Three people have given an extraordinary amount of their 
time to the work, and I must mention their names: John N. Keeney, 
Joseph McCusker, and Kenneth Brookes. 

Of course, I acknowledge the cooperation of the members of 
the Town Committee who were made responsible for the publica- 
tion of the book: Herman G. Olson, chairman; Edith M. Peck, 
Gertrude Fuller, John N. Keeney, Joseph McCusker, Clifford B. 
Knight, Franklin G. Wells. 

G. S. B. 



We have come to the end of a difficult task; etching the face 
of yesterday. In it have been drawn the strong lines of courage 
and adventure; of laughter and sorrow; of adaptability and in- 
genuity; of success and failure; of work and play. No one can 
look upon this face of yesterday and fail to see in it the features 
of true nobility. 

But what of the face of tomorrow? Will it be greatly changed? 
We think not. A man's character does not change much between 
yesterday and today, or between today and tomorrow. Nor does 
the character of a town or city. The story of Vernon and Rock- 
ville continues without a break. Out of the past have come the 
materials for tomorrow's story. Time cannot really be divided 
into past, present and future. It is one. 

Some will call this the story of mills and factories, of indus- 
tries and manufacturing. And, in a way, that is what it is. It 
tells of the birth and slow development of the textile industry in 
a New England town that achieved a world wide reputation for 
its woolen, cotton and silk products. It shows how the town grew 
up around these same mills, depending upon them for life, as well 
as supplying all the needs of workers and their families. It tells, 
sadly, of the death of this single industry, and of the near-death 
of the town. It was a death for which the bells could not toll. 
Those of us who have lived many years here, remember the awful 
silence when one by one the mills closed. We missed the bells! 
For years, they had called the men from refreshment to labor, and 
what glad bells they were. The old Saxonv Mill on West 
Street had a bell made by Doolittle, Hartford Company upon 
which was inscribed the date, 1739. Another, made by the same 
company, and bearing the date of 1840, rang cheerfullv in the 
tower of the Phoenix Mill. Now their tongues were all still. We 
believed that the silence was not for long. Then came the stun- 
ning announcement that the mills would remain closed permanent- 
ly. That was a blow as cruel as permanent disability to many men 
who had worked in the same factory, at the same job, from their 
youth. Some, of course, found other employment as skilled work- 
men, but many were too far advanced in years to secure a new 
type of work. 

Almost a hundred years ago, a skilful mechanic by the name 



of Albert Dart built a huge water wheel, 55 feet in diameter, sup- 
plying power to three large mills, though everyone said that it 
couldn't be done. Albert Dart was more than an ingenious me- 
chanic; he knew something also about how and why a town con- 
tinues to live and grow. He believed that a diversity of business 
was essential to the permanent welfare of a community. He made 
this generous offer: "To any party wishing to establish in Rock- 
ville a new branch of a paying business, which will give employ- 
ment to 100 operatives, I will give necessary grounds for building 
and furnish 50 horse power, free, for a term of years." The silence 
of the bells in Rockville is a testimony to Albert Dart's wisdom, a 
mute reminder of his rejected generosity, and a quiet warning for 
tomorrow's industrial pattern. 

Some may call this the story of organized community life; of 
societies and agencies; of churches and schools. And, in a way, 
that is what it is. It tells how a group of people living beside a 
lovely cascading stream learned to play and study and worship 
together. It tells, not as fully as we wish, how they enriched their 
lives in cultural pursuits and in fraternal helpfulness. We wish 
that we might have devoted a chapter to the many societies and 
clubs and lodges that made Rockville's life gay and fascinating. 
The very multitude of them, however, made it impossible to do 
all of them justice. Our Masonic Lodge, for example, has an 
ancient history that reaches back almost to the beginning of the 
town, yet it would be unfair to relate its story without also paying 
tribute to the other influential fraternal orders. We thought it 
wisest to omit them all. 

The real story that we have told, however, is not one of fac- 
tories and mills, and not one of clubs and societies. It is a story 
of people, men and women who found themselves beside the fall- 
ing waters of a beautiful lake, and who with imagination and cour- 
age harnessed its power. They dared adventure into new areas 
of productivity. Ingenuity, imagination, courage and daring are 
the real heroes of our story. Without these the face of yesterday 
would be sad indeed. 

Nothing has really changed. Tomorrow's historian will write 
about manufacturing and societies, mills and churches, enterprises 
and schools. There will be new processes and different products. 
But his heroes will be the same as ours — imagination, ingenuity, 
courage and daring. 

There is plenty of evidence that these qualities have not de- 
parted from the banks of the Hockanum. 


The following news item from the "Rockville Journal" of May 
11, 1955, is a good illustration: 

ROCKVILLE, May 11— Confidence in the New Eng- 
land textile industry — at a low ebb after being pla